Trump says FBI search has given Mar-a-Lago ‘about $5B worth of free publicity’

Donald Trump grins in front of an American flag.
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.

Former President Trump on Wednesday railed against the federal investigation into his handling of sensitive documents upon leaving the White House, but quipped that coverage of the August FBI search of his Florida home had generated tons of free publicity.

“Has anyone heard about the document hoax? Helicopters flying over Mar-a-Lago,” Trump said at a Hispanic Leadership Conference in Miami arranged by the America First Policy Institute.

“Well, they’ve given us about $5 billion worth of free publicity, I will say,” Trump added. “People said, ‘That’s a nice house.’ If it weren’t so nice they probably wouldn’t be doing it, because it gets ratings.”

Trump, who is locked in an intense legal battle with the Justice Department in the wake of the FBI search, denied wrongdoing at Wednesday’s event and complained that he was being unfairly persecuted, unlike other former presidents.

“Everyone knows we’ve done nothing wrong. They are targeting me because they want to silence me, silence you and silence our amazing MAGA movement. There’s never been a movement like this in the history of our country,” Trump said.

Federal authorities found dozens of classified and top secret documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort during separate searches earlier this year, raising concerns about whether Trump improperly handled sensitive materials and violated federal laws about presidential record-keeping.

The former president has offered a variety of defenses for his conduct, insisting he did not pack the boxes upon leaving the White House and claiming he declassified whatever he took with him to Mar-a-Lago, despite experts saying doing so would create a paper trail and require others to sign off.

The review of documents taken during the August raid is ensnared in a slew of procedural hang-ups and legal motions. A federal appeals court on Wednesday agreed to fast-track an appeal by the Justice Department over the appointment of a third party to review thousands of pages of government records seized at Mar-a-Lago.

Tags Department of Justice DOJ Florida Mar-a-Lago Mar-a-Lago raid Mar-a-Lago search Trump

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