New Flashpoint in Trump Search: His Passports

FBI took them but is returning them; former president says they were 'stolen'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2022 11:52 AM CDT
New Flashpoint in Trump Search: His Passports
Former President Trump speaks at a rally Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, in Waukesha, Wis.   (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

Donald Trump is getting his passports back. That they were taken in the first place has emerged as the latest source of controversy related to the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, reports USA Today. On Monday, Justice Department official Jay Bratt emailed Trump representatives to say that agents removed three Trump passports during the search—two expired ones, along with his active diplomatic passport—but would return them. (Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich made the email public in a tweet.) Less than an hour after the email arrived, Trump took to Truth Social to complain that agents "stole" his passports, notes CBS News.

"This was an assault on a political opponent at a level never seen before in our country," he wrote. "Third World!" In a statement, the FBI explained that the agency "follows search and seizure procedures ordered by courts, then returns items that we do not need to be retained for law enforcement purposes." In this case, a "filter team" going through the seized property from Trump's residence spotted the passports and determined they should go back, per CBS.

As Trump's own social media post suggests, he and his supporters see the seized passports as an example of the search's overreach. "There's no room for error," Trump attorney Christina Bobb told Fox News Monday night, per USA Today. "So I don't give them a pass as this was a simple mistake." The former president's critics, on the other hand, see things differently. On Monday morning, Trump told Fox News he wanted to "lower the temperature" over the search, writes Steve Benen at MSNBC. By later complaining that agents "stole" his passports as part of a political vendetta, "he did the opposite." (More Donald Trump stories.)

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