For days, talking heads have been speculating, reporters have been inquiring: what did the FBI want at Mar-a-Lago?
It’s led to calls from virtually the entire Republican Party — most notably Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — for the DOJ to come out and explain itself. (That’s among the more moderate reaction from the GOP.)
But the reality here is simple: the person best placed to solve the mystery of what the FBI wanted here is Donald Trump.
Given his position as the person who controlled the records that were searched and then returned to their rightful owner — the federal government — Trump should know exactly what they contained.
There’s also documentation: Trump’s attorneys have said that they were alternately shown, and then, after the searches concluded, given a copy of the search warrant used to justify the raid. Typically, the FBI would also hand over an itemized list of all materials that were taken.
Those on the receiving end of an FBI search frequently disclose these documents to the press. Last year, for example, TPM received and published a search warrant and a list of items taken from a militia-linked Georgia couple who were present at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
It’s not unusual, and it wouldn’t violate any laws. Trump could easily release these records in full.
There are already indications that some of the information contained in the warrant has been selectively made public.
The New York Post was among the first to publish the name of the magistrate judge who purportedly signed off on the warrant. It did so, however, with a very specific spin: not only was the judge, Bruce Reinhart, an Obama donor, but he once represented employees of notorious billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Politico published a version of the same story, and stated that the name of the judge had been revealed by Trump lawyer Christina Bobb.
The New York Post framing was catnip for the QAnon extended universe, and spoke to the Trump lawyer’s efforts to discredit the process of issuing the search warrant.
Other information that would be on the warrant and accompanying materials could refute some of Trump’s claims.
Trump and his attorneys, for example, have suggested that there was no government property at Mar-a-Lago. They’ve gone so far as to suggest that the FBI “planted” materials in the Florida mansion and club, only for federal agents to have something to seize.
Trump’s attorneys have peppered claims of “planting” with other bizarre insinuations. Alina Habba, a Trump attorney representing the former President against New York Attorney General Letitia James, theorized to Fox News this week that the FBI’s actions may have been justified had Trump taken information about “Jimmy Hoffa” or “aliens,” for example.
But the former President and his attorneys now have an itemized list of everything that the government seized. If the feds really have planted evidence — or documents relating to the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa or appearance of aliens — then Trump has all the proof he needs to show what really happened.