Donald Trump Is Still Furious That the FBI Took His Many Passports
Since Donald Trump cannot stop publicly narrating the FBI’s investigation into him as it unfolds, we know that federal agents seized three of his passports during their search of his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida.
“Wow! In the raid by the FBI of Mar-a-Lago, they stole my three Passports (one expired), along with everything else,” he wrote on his horrible social media site Truth Social. “This is an assault on a political opponent at a level never seen before in our Country. Third World!”
When Trump announced this to the world, a lot of people responded with pretty reasonable questions like, “Why does a person have multiple passports?” and “How did he know his passport was missing unless he went looking for it for some reason?,” as well as “Why does Trump think it’s a good idea to keep telling the world about his ongoing criminal investigation?”
Those are all good questions, although most of them have fairly innocuous answers.
Why does Trump have so many passports?
As it turns out, the FBI did take three of Trump’s passports. It’s not unusual for government employees to have multiple passports, and one of the passports taken was reportedly his special diplomatic one (that it sounds like he is possibly not still supposed to have) along with two others that are expired—which seems to suggest there’s a chance he might have a fourth (regular, unexpired) passport in his possession that the FBI didn’t take.
It’s possible that Trump retained his red “government official” passport, and a black “diplomatic” passport, which he no longer has a right to. Those would be “government records” seizable pursuant to the warrant. https://t.co/TggjnFLSpY— Frank Figliuzzi (@FrankFigliuzzi1) August 15, 2022
A Diplomatic Passport does not belong to Donald Trump. It belongs to the Government. Donald Trump is not in Government. https://t.co/saNYet5Tv3— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) August 15, 2022
Why did the FBI take Trump’s passports?
A lot of people on Twitter were jumping to the conclusion that Trump must be planning to flee the country since most of us would probably not notice our passport was missing unless we specifically went looking for it.
I think a more likely explanation is just that Trump knew the FBI was in his safe, where he probably keeps his passport(s), and he noticed they were gone when he looked to see what all they’d taken. On the other hand, Trump has done absolutely nothing to earn the benefit of our doubt, and he very possibly could have been hatching an escape plan. Who knows!
I have a passport and twitter account. Donald Trump has neither.— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) August 15, 2022
By the way, Trump already has his passports back.
Trump and his team have been using the fact that the FBI took the passports as evidence that the agency overreached in their search because passports were not included in the search warrant or the property receipt of items seized.
Apparently thinking it supported those claims, Trump’s team shared an email from the Justice Department, letting Trump’s lawyers know they had the passports and offering to return them. So while Trump was yelling online about how the FBI needs to return his passports, accusing them of being criminals, and also simultaneously expressing fake concern for the “temperature” of the country—during all of that, the DOJ had already made arrangements to return them.
As suspected, the story was nothing like what Trump said. Two of the passports were expired. One was a diplomatic passport, presumably not his main passport. And DOJ alerted him when the filter team found it. It wasn’t taken intentionally. https://t.co/zdBHQNdbVU— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) August 16, 2022
Meanwhile, an FBI spokesperson told NBC News that this is normal procedure. “In executing search warrants, the FBI follows search and seizure procedures ordered by courts, then returns items that do not need to be retained for law enforcement purposes,” their statement reads.
Still, Trump has continued to yell about this online and accuse the FBI of overreaching and engaging in a “witch hunt.” On Tuesday, August 16—more than a full day after the DOJ reached out to return the passports and after they’d already been given back—Trump was still ranting, writing in a post on Truth Social that the FBI “just opened their arms and grabbed everything in sight, much as a common criminal would do.”
So while saying that the “temperature needs to be lowered,”Trump was elevating the temperature by accusing the DOJ on social media of “stealing” his passports, when in fact DOJ lawyers are the ones who alerted Trump that they had the passports & had already returned them. Awful. https://t.co/XT1uZmtM5I— Sherrilyn Ifill (@SIfill_) August 16, 2022
You would think Trump would have enough things to be legitimately mad about right now that he wouldn’t have to fixate on made-up grievances but apparently not.
(image: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images)
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