White House: Biden learned of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago FBI search from public reports

President Biden
Greg Nash
President Biden gives remarks during a signing ceremony for the CHIPS and Science Act on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, August 9, 2022.

The White House said on Tuesday that President Biden learned of the FBI search of former President Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago through public reports while stressing that the Justice Department operates independently of the West Wing.

“The president and the White House learned about this FBI search from public reports. We learned just like the American public did yesterday, and we did not have advance notice of this activity,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Jean-Pierre refused to comment on the Justice Department investigation of Trump or the search of his home, pointing all questions to the agency.

“The Justice Department conducts investigations independently, and we leave any law enforcement matters to them. It would not be appropriate for us to comment on any ongoing investigation,” Jean-Pierre said.

“The president has been has been very clear from before he was elected president and throughout his time in office that the Justice Department conducts its investigations independently — he believes in the rule of law,” she added. 

Jean-Pierre also would not share if Attorney General Merrick Garland signed off on the raid and wouldn’t say if Biden had spoken to Garland on Tuesday, but she did say that the White House had not been briefed on the search operation.

“The president was not briefed, was not aware of it. No, no one at the White House was given a heads up. No, that did not happen,” she said.

The FBI search of Trump’s estate was reportedly focused on the retention of classified material. The FBI entered Mar-a-Lago after securing a search warrant from a federal magistrate judge. While Trump wasn’t at Mar-a-Lago at the time of the search, he decried the action as politically motivated.

Tags Biden Biden DOJ FBI Karine Jean-Pierre Merrick Garland Trump white house
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