Trump misrepresents FBI document to wrongly claim Biden planned to kill him in Mar-a-Lago raid

Trump misrepresents FBI document to wrongly claim Biden planned to kill him in Mar-a-Lago raid
Trump misrepresents FBI document to wrongly claim Biden planned to kill him in Mar-a-Lago raid

By Melissa GoldinThe Associated Press

Former President Donald Trump cited an FBI document written in the agency’s usual language on Tuesday night to claim – without basis – that the Administration of Democrat Joe Biden wanted to kill him during the operation at his Mar-a-Lago property. in Palm Beach, almost two years ago.

“WOW! I just left the Biden witch hunt trial in Manhattan… I was shown reports that Joe Biden’s corrupt Justice Department, in its illegal and unconstitutional raid on Mar-a-Lago, AUTHORIZED THE FBI TO USE (LETAL) FORCE,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social social media platform.

“NOW WE KNOW, FOR SURE, THAT JOE BIDEN IS A SERIOUS THREAT TO DEMOCRACY. HE IS MENTALLY UNFIT FOR OFFICE – AMENDMENT 25!” Trump added.

The statement was also promoted on social networks by the former president’s followers.

Donald Trump at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on May 20, 2024.Michael M. Santiago / AP

But in the language Trump referenced — the word ‘lethal’ — it is a statement of standard procedures, used to issue search warrants, and was not unique to the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago raid. In reality, their goal is to limit the use of lethal force.

Standard procedure

The ‘use of deadly force’ statement, which appeared in a warrant for the Mar-a-Lago raid, is not evidence of a plot to kill Trump. It is part of the language that the Department of Justice uses in these documents.

“The FBI followed standard protocol in this search as we do for all search warrants, which includes a statement of standard procedures limiting the use of deadly force,” the agency explained in a statement. “No one ordered additional action to be taken and there was no deviation from the norm in this matter.”

As stated in the operations order, the policy states in part that Justice Department agents “may use deadly force only when necessary, that is, when the officer has a reasonable belief that the subject (who would receive) such force represents an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the official or another person.” The policy is in the department’s Justice Manual with only minor differences in wording from what is included in the order and summarized on the FBI website.

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Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI deputy director of counterintelligence, reiterated in a post on X what the agency said in its statement.

“Yes, every FBI operations order contains a reminder of the FBI’s deadly force policy,” he wrote. “Even for a search warrant. “Deadly force is always authorized if the required threat is presented.”

A motion that Trump’s lawyers filed in their case for classified federal documents, also unsealed Tuesday, claimed that the August 2022 raid was unconstitutional and “unlawful,” misquoting the operations order as saying that “Trump law enforcement officers Department of Justice could use lethal force if necessary.”

Trump was not at Mar-a-Lago. The property was closed for the season at the time of the search. The Associated Press reported at the time that the FBI contacted the Secret Service that provides protection for the former president and his home shortly before carrying out the order.

They amplify false claim

The facts did not stop Trump and his allies from spreading the false claim.

[Cómo una publicación que afirmaba falsamente que los migrantes se estaban registrando para votar se extendió a millones]

A Trump campaign fundraising email with the subject line, “They were authorized to shoot me!”, was sent shortly after the former president posted on social media and made even more outrageous claims.

“I almost escaped death,” it reads. “You know they are eager to do the unthinkable. … Joe Biden was … ready to eliminate me and put my family in danger.”

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press about the false claims.

Far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican, wrote in an X post that “Biden’s Justice Department and the FBI were planning to assassinate President Trump and gave the green light.”

Kari Lake, a Republican Senate candidate in Arizona, wrote on her own X account: “Biden’s sick FBI was ready to use lethal force during the Mar-a-Lago trash raid. That tells him everything he needs to know about this criminal Biden Administration.”


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