(PresidentialWire.com)- As part of its surprise and unprecedented raid on former President Donald Trump’s home and offices at Mar-a-Lago, the FBI seized three of Trump’s passports.
Immediately following news of the incident getting out to the public, many people took to social media saying that Trump must’ve been labeled a “flight risk,” otherwise the agents would’ve never taken his passports from him.
Trump himself wrote a post on his own social media platform, Truth Social, that said the FBI agents “stole” his passports as part of their August 8 search. One of those passports, he said, was even expired.
As he wrote:
“This is an assault on a political opponent at a level never seen before in our Country. Third World!”
Trump didn’t comment further about why he believed the FBI agents needed to take his passports. Social media users, though, surmised that it could’ve been because the agency considered him to be a flight risk.
Seth Abramson, an attorney, replied to a Twitter thread earlier in the week that if that were true, then “the FBI is acknowledging what I’ve long said, which is that as a factual matter Trump is a flight risk.”
Details of the warrant were released to the public a few days after it was executed. Those details revealed that there were three potential federal law violations at the heart of the search, one that was potentially part of the Espionage Act.
If Trump were ever found guilty of those charges, he could see hefty fines as well as time in prison that could last decades. That could be why the FBI agents took his passports — at least, that’s what social media users were thinking.
Agents were allowed to search through Trump’s own residence and office, and take any presidential or governmental records that were created during his time in the White House. That included any documents that had markings showing they were classified materials, as well as any information that was related to the “retrieval, storage or transmission of national defense information or classified material.”
The federal government has said that the property that was taken from Mar-a-Lago includes items marked as secret, top secret, various other boxes as well as some that referred to as “Info re: President of France.”
The property receipt didn’t list any of Trump’s passports, though it wasn’t clear whether they were included in any of the boxes that were listed on that receipt.
Courts use the term “flight risk” to label people who they believe have a high likelihood of trying to flee an area, state or even the country so they could avoid being prosecuted in a criminal trial. In some of those cases, the passports of those individuals would be seized so they wouldn’t be able to exit the United States.
In this case, Trump hasn’t been charged with any crimes yet, and there’s no indication that he’s been officially designated as a flight risk.
In a statement after the seizure was completed, the FBI said:
“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.”