The FBI’s Christopher Wray is criticizing the “deplorable and dangerous” threats that federal investigators have been subjected to since this week’s search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.
Wray remarked during a news conference on Wednesday at an FBI field office in Omaha, Nebraska: “Concerning threats to law enforcement, I’m always worried. Violence against law enforcement is not the answer, no matter who you’re upset with.”
Wray reportedly declined to speak in detail on the Mar-a-Lago search, telling ABC News, “Well, as I’m sure you can appreciate that’s not something I can talk about,” but added, “In the last few years we’ve had an alarming surge in violence against law enforcement.”
In the days since the FBI carried out the warrant on Monday at the former president’s 76-year-old house, threats against agents have proliferated on far-right, extremist sections of the internet.
According to a research by the think group Institute for Strategic Dialogue, which monitors extremism, Trump supporters urged for protests outside FBI offices in California and Washington, D.C. to “resist FBI tyranny” in online comments.
Republican lawmakers have used words like “tyranny,” “banana republic,” and even “civil war” to describe the nation in response to the agency’s legal investigation.
After firing former director James Comey, Trump named Christopher Wray as the new FBI director in 2017. Wray gave the go-ahead for the search of Mar-a-Lago.
Contrary to what some websites and far-right politicians may assert, getting a search warrant requires that law enforcement personnel demonstrate probable cause for conducting the search. This means that there must be solid evidence to substantiate the risk that the search will turn up illegal evidence.
However, as The New York Times notes, the issuance of a search warrant does not imply that the suspect is guilty or even charged with a crime.
According to Politico, CNN, The Washington Post, and other news sources, a search was carried out at Trump’s residence as part of an inquiry into the suspected improper management of White House records, including possibly sensitive materials.
Trump turned over 15 boxes of paperwork to the National Archives earlier this year, but there are still worries about whether he has any further (perhaps classified) records at his Palm Bach, Florida, residence.
According to The Wall Street Journal, “three FBI agents and a top Justice Department national security supervisor” went to Mar-a-Lago on June 3 to talk about the documents that are kept there.
Weeks later, the FBI was informed by an informant about the existence of other records that had not been turned over, according to fresh claims from Newsweek and the Journal.
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The CIA later demanded access to Mar-a-surveillance Lago’s tapes, and on Monday, a search warrant was carried out there.
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