FBI responds to ‘deadly force’ claims about Mar-a-Lago raid 

National News

By Jack Phillips 
Contributing Writer 

The FBI responded to claims that its agents were armed and were authorized to use deadly force during a search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in 2022. 

The law enforcement bureau said on Wednesday that its agents followed standard protocol, including “a standard policy statement limiting the use of deadly force.” 

“The FBI followed standard protocol in this search as we do for all search warrants, which includes a standard policy statement limiting the use of deadly force,” an FBI spokesperson said. “No one ordered additional steps to be taken and there was no departure from the norm in this matter.” 

It came after Trump wrote on his Truth Social account Tuesday that the Department of Justice “authorized the FBI to use deadly (lethal) force,” responding to newly unsealed court document that revealed FBI and DOJ agents were prepared for U.S. Secret Service resistance during the Mar-a-Lago raid. 

If the Secret Service agents “provide resistance or interfere with FBI timeline or accesses,” then FBI officials would contact certain individuals — their names and positions were redacted — the documents stated. 

The documents included a statement on the use of deadly force, which quoted government policy in stating that “law enforcement officers of the Department of Justice may use deadly force only when necessary, that is, when the officer has a reasonable belief that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person.” 

Other than Trump, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, claimed on social media that the FBI and DOJ were “planning to assassinate Pres. Trump and gave the green light.” 

However, some noted that the FBI’s policy is to use deadly force even for the execution of a search warrant. 

“Every FBI operations order contains a reminder of FBI deadly force policy,” former assistant director of counterintelligence at the FBI Frank Figliuzzi wrote on X. “Even for a search warrant. Deadly force is always authorized if the required threat presents itself.” 

But, according to the former president’s lawyers, there was no reason for agents to bring weapons to Mar-a-Lago. 

“There were no threats and no risk to agents’ safety arising from their allegations relating to possession of documents at a premises already guarded by the Secret Service,” the lawyers said in a filing that was made public this week. 

The defense lawyers wrote in a new motion that the August 2022 search of Mar-a-Lago was illegal and the FBI affidavit used as the basis of the raid wasn’t accurate. In the case, Trump is accused of illegally retaining classified records after he left the White House and obstructing federal officials’ efforts to retrieve them; he has pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

But officials under special counsel Jack Smith’s office, which brought the case against the former commander-in-chief, said in their own filing that Trump’s lawyers are wrong, defending the methods used during the investigation. The warrant, they argued, was obtained after their investigations got surveillance video footage showing that there were alleged efforts to conceal the classified documents at the heart of the case. 

“The warrant was supported by a detailed affidavit that established probable cause and did not omit any material information. And the warrant provided ample guidance to the FBI agents who conducted the search. Trump identifies no plausible basis to suppress the fruits of that search,” Smith’s team wrote. 

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon indefinitely postponed the classified documents trial date. It’s not clear when the former president’s trial will start or if it will begin before the November presidential election. 

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report. 

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