Only a handful of people who were “very close” to former President Donald Trump could have tipped off federal investigators about boxes of classified documents being stored at his Mar-a-Lago resort, onetime White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Thursday.
The FBI raided Trump’s ritzy residence in Palm Beach, Fla., Monday in search of sensitive papers that the 45th president purportedly removed from the White House at the end of his term of office.
Multiple outlets have reported that the Department of Justice opted to apply for a search warrant after a person with knowledge of the storage arrangement blew the whistle.
“This would be someone who was handling things on day-to-day, who knew where documents were, so it would be somebody very close, inside the president,” Mulvaney told CNN Thursday. “My guess is there’s probably six or eight people who had that kind of information.”
Mulvaney added that whoever talked to the feds was so close to Trump they knew the existence and location of a safe at Trump’s home.
”I didn’t even know there was a safe at Mar-a-Lago, and I was the chief of staff for 15 months,” he said.
”I don’t know the people on the inside circle these days, so I can’t give any names of folks who come to mind, but … if you know where the safe is and you know the documents are in 10 boxes in the basement, you’re pretty close to the president,” Mulvaney added.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that after federal investigators visited the Florida resort in June to discuss government records kept on the property, a person “familiar with the stored papers” told the feds that there were more classified documents lying around the resort.
Agents carted about a dozen boxes from Trump’s winter home after Monday’s raid, which lasted more than nine hours.
Trump, who was in New York at the time, announced the FBI search Monday on Truth Social, saying his home had been “raided, and occupied,” adding “they even broke into my safe.”
Republicans have immediately demanded that Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray explain the reasoning behind conducting a raid on the private home of a former president.
“What was on the warrant? What were you really doing? What were you looking for? Why not talk to President Trump and have him give the information you’re after? This is unbelievable,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said on Fox News Monday night.
Mulvaney, himself a former GOP congressman from South Carolina, said he understood his former colleague’s outrage.
“When the FBI has the track record it has in the recent past about dealing with Republicans, the burden is on them to show that they are absolutely on the up and up,” he said, “and releasing that [search warrant] affidavit is something they can and should do.”