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A timeline of Trump’s false and misleading statements on the Mar-a-Lago search

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                Former President Donald Trump gestures as he departs Trump Tower, Wednesday, in New York, on his way to the New York attorney general’s office for a deposition in a civil investigation.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Former President Donald Trump gestures as he departs Trump Tower, Wednesday, in New York, on his way to the New York attorney general’s office for a deposition in a civil investigation.

In the days since former President Donald Trump’s Florida home was searched by federal agents last week, he has posted dozens of messages on Truth Social, his social media platform, about the Democrats, the FBI and other perceived foes.

Those statements reflect the strategy Trump has long used to address controversy, by turns denying any wrongdoing while directing attention elsewhere. Some of the messages also reflect his penchant for false and misleading claims.

Here are some of the false and unsupported statements he has made since the FBI’s search.

Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 8 and 9

After the search becomes public, Trump suggests, without evidence, that President Joe Biden played a role.

In the days following the raid, Trump’s allies focused attention on the FBI’s search warrant for his home at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach. Those warrants typically remain under seal unless charges are filed, but many of his supporters suggested that the FBI was not releasing it because the search was politically motivated.

Trump was free to release the warrant at any time. Instead, he repeatedly linked the White House to the search, suggesting that Biden or other Democrats knew about it.

“Biden knew all about this,” he wrote Aug. 9. He provided no evidence.

Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said Biden was not given advance notice of the search.

Wednesday, Aug. 10

Trump suggests, without evidence, that the FBI may have planted evidence. He then makes false claims about former President Barack Obama.

Trump said his lawyers and others at Mar-a-Lago were not permitted to watch the search and suggested the lack of oversight could have allowed the FBI to plant evidence.

He wrote on Truth Social that agents did not want witnesses “to see what they were doing, taking or, hopefully not, ‘planting.’”

But Trump’s lawyer said during a television interview that the former president watched the search from New York from video provided by security cameras inside of Mar-a-Lago.

Trump also targeted Obama, falsely claiming that his predecessor took more than 30 million documents to Chicago after he left the White House. In a later post, Trump increased the figure to 33 million documents.

The National Archives and Records Administration, or NARA, responded in a statement, saying that “NARA moved approximately 30 million pages of unclassified records to a NARA facility in the Chicago area, where they are maintained exclusively by NARA.”

Thursday, Aug. 11

After reports reveal a focus on classified documents, Trump suggests the raid was unnecessary.

After reports showed the FBI sought documents related to “special access programs,” a term reserved for extremely sensitive operations and closely held technologies, Trump said the FBI could have asked for documents without a raid.

He posted on Truth Social that the FBI had already asked him to install an additional padlock in an area where secure documents were kept.

“My attorneys and representatives were cooperating fully, and very good relationships had been established,” he wrote Aug. 11. “The government could have had whatever they wanted, if we had it.”

Trump received a subpoena this spring seeking additional documents, and federal officials met with Trump and his lawyer Evan Corcoran at Mar-a-Lago. After the visit, at least one of Trump’s lawyers signed a written statement claiming that all material marked as classified and stored in boxes at Mar-a-Lago was returned.

But an inventory of material taken from Trump’s home during last week’s search showed that agents seized 11 sets of confidential or secret documents.

Friday, Aug. 12

After the FBI log of seized documents shows some marked classified, Trump said, without evidence, that the documents were already declassified.

After the warrant was released by a Florida court, an accompanying log showed that 11 sets of classified documents were retrieved from Mar-a-Lago. The warrant also showed that the investigation was related to violations of the Espionage Act.

Trump then suggested that the documents seized by the FBI were legitimate.

“Number one, it was all declassified,” he wrote.

While presidents have broad powers to declassify information while in office, violations of the Espionage Act still apply to declassified documents.

Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 13 and 14

Trump repeats unfounded claim that documents could have been planted.

In a series of posts on Truth Social, Trump doubled down on his criticism of the FBI, saying the agency “has a long and unrelenting history of being corrupt.” He listed discredited claims of election interference during the 2016 election.

Trump then returned to his earlier, unsupported, claims that the documents could have been planted by the FBI.

“There was no way of knowing if what they took was legitimate, or was there a ‘plant?’” he wrote. “This was, after all, the FBI!”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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