For Donald Trump, the week included FBI searches, civil investigations and social media campaigns

Donald Trump has been in the headlines a lot lately.

The January 6 committee hearings into the Capitol riots might be on hiatus, but the former president is still facing multiple legal battles while publicly flirting with the idea of running again in 2024.

Let's get you up to speed on what's been a very eventful week for the former US president.

First, his home was raided by the FBI

And the person to break the news was Trump himself.

In a statement released on Tuesday morning, the former US president said his home was “under siege, raided and occupied by a large group of FBI agents”.

The residence in question was his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida's Palm Beach, where he's been living since he left office in January 2021.

The Southern District of Florida unsealed the search warrant granting federal law enforcement access to Mar-a-Lago. 

For Donald Trump, the week included FBI searches, civil investigations and social media campaigns

An aerial view of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate.(AP: Steve Helber)

The FBI seized 'top secret' documents 

Materials marked “top secret”, binders of photos, and information about the “President of France” all made the list of inventory seized by the FBI — 11 sets of classified information, court documents revealed.

The search warrant revealed Trump is being investigated for:

  • Possible violations of the Espionage Act
  • A federal law that prohibits the possession or transmission of national defence information.

The two other laws cited involve concealing, removing or destroying records.

In a statement on his social media platform, Trump said the records at issue were “all declassified” and placed in “secure storage”.

“They didn't need to 'seize' anything. They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago,” he said.

Mr Trump had earlier called for the “immediate” release of the federal warrant the FBI used to search his Mar-a-Lago estate.

On Friday, US Attorney-General Merrick Garland said federal agents searched Mr Trump's estate as part of an investigation into whether he illegally removed records from the White House as he was leaving office.

Garland — the nation's top law enforcement official — said he personally approved the decision to search Trump's home.

The Attorney-General also said the Department of Justice (DOJ) had asked a court to unseal the search warrant due to “substantial public interest” after Trump revealed the search was happening.

Then Trump released a campaign-style video

Hours after denouncing the FBI's raid on his Florida home as political persecution, Trump released a campaign-style video that may be the strongest hint yet that he plans to run against President Joe Biden in 2024.

The black and white video features a voiceover from Mr Trump, detailing the various ways America is “in decline”, and ends with a quote from the former president saying “the best is yet to come”.


Political analysts say the FBI's actions have arguably placed Mr Trump in his political sweet spot, allowing him to claim that he is a victim of institutional forces trying to destroy him. 

Next, Trump pleaded the Fifth — but this isn't about the Capitol riots

The former US president is also facing a civil investigation into his family's business practices.

New York State Attorney-General Letitia James is looking into whether the Trump Organization inflated real estate values to attract lenders and deflated them for tax purposes.

Mr Trump and two of his adult children, Donald Trump Jr and Ivanka Trump, fought to avoid testifying but lost.

On Thursday, Mr Trump says he invoked the Fifth Amendment and declined to answer questions during an appearance before the New York Attorney-General. 

“I declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States constitution,” Mr Trump said in a statement.

“When your family, your company, and all the people in your orbit have become the targets of an unfounded, politically motivated witch hunt, supported by lawyers, prosecutors and the fake news media, you have no choice.”

For Donald Trump, the week included FBI searches, civil investigations and social media campaigns

Donald Trump raised his fist in the air as he departed Trump Tower on his way to the New York Attorney-General's office.(AP: Julia Nikhinson)

Mr Trump, a Republican, has denied wrongdoing and called the New York investigation politically motivated. Ms James is a Democrat.

So, is Trump 2024 happening?

In July, Trump told New York Magazine that he's “already made” a decision to run, and the real question is when he'll make his official announcement.

“I would say my big decision will be whether I go before or after,” he said, in reference to the mid-term elections in November.

The DOJ has a long-standing policy of not acting on politically sensitive matters that could be seen to interfere with a national election cycle, whether that's the upcoming mid-terms or the next presidential contest two years from now.

However, that didn't stop Trump's supporters and fellow Republicans swiftly accusing the FBI and the DOJ of a political witch hunt targeting the former president to deter him from announcing his candidacy for 2024. 

An armed man who tried to get into an FBI office in Cincinnati on Thursday was shot dead by police after he fled the scene.

On Gab — a social media site popular with white supremacists and anti-Semites — users have warned they are preparing for an armed revolution.

Christopher Wray — who was appointed FBI director in 2017 by Trump — called threats circulating online against federal agents and the DOJ “deplorable and dangerous”.

“I'm always concerned about threats to law enforcement,” Wray warned.

“Violence against law enforcement is not the answer, no matter who you're upset with.”

As for the search warrant, Trump later took to his own social media platform, Truth Social, to say his lawyers were cooperating “fully, and very good relationships had been established”.

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