Biden says he had ‘zero’ advance notice of Trump property search

President Joe Biden speaks before signing the Democrats’ landmark climate change and health care bill in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Biden told reporters Wednesday that he had no advance notice of the FBI’s plans to search former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.  

“I didn’t have any advance notice. None. Zero. Not one single bit,” Biden said in response to a question from reporters following an event on student debt relief.  

Biden’s remarks are consistent with those of other White House officials, but they are significant because they represent his first public comments on the Mar-a-Lago search since Aug. 8, the date the FBI’s warrant was executed.

The White House has sought to distance itself from the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into Trump and classified documents that were allegedly taken to Mar-a-Lago and kept there after he left office. White House officials have stressed that the Justice Department is conducting its investigation free of any political interference.  

The White House also said it was not notified by the Justice Department ahead of Attorney General Merrick Garland’s press conference earlier this month, during which he disclosed the department was moving to unseal the search warrant related to the case.  

That warrant, unsealed on Aug. 12, showed that the FBI removed classified documents from Mar-a-Lago in connection with an investigation into potential violations of the Espionage Act and other laws. 

Republicans, meanwhile, have attacked the Justice Department and accused it of political motivations in the decision to search Trump’s property. Trump is weighing another presidential run in 2024, meaning he could face off against Biden a second time. 

Biden has kept a low profile in the weeks since the search, in large part because they coincided with his summer vacation to South Carolina and Delaware. Biden returned to the White House from Rehoboth Beach, Del., on Wednesday morning.  

Updated: 5:20 p.m.

Tags Biden classified documents Department of Justice DOJ FBI search of Mar-a-Lago Joe Biden Merrick Garland Merrick Garland Trump search warrant

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