House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) just sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland revealing new information related to the raid of former President Donald Trump’s residence and the Department of Justice’s reported indictment of President Donald Trump. This information was obtained from the Committee’s transcribed interview of Steven D’Antuono, the former Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Mr. D’Antuono described several abnormalities in the raid.
According to Mr. D’Antuono, the abnormalities include:
The Miami Field Office did not conduct the search. Mr. D’Antuono testified that FBI headquarters made the decision to assign the execution of the search warrant to the Washington Field Office (WFO) despite the location of the search occurring in the territory of the FBI’s Miami Field Office. Mr. D’Antuono stated that he had “absolutely no idea” why this decision was made and questioned why the Miami Field Office was not taking the lead on this matter. Mr. D’Antuono stated that the FBI “learned a lot of stuff from [the] Crossfire Hurricane” investigation—notably “that the [FBI] Headquarters does not work the investigation, it is supposed to be the field offices working the investigations.” Mr. D’Antuono indicated that his “concern is that [the] DOJ was not following the same principles . . . .” In fact, as recently as May 2023, in response to the report of Special Counsel Durham, the FBI asserted that “investigations should be run out of the Field” and not from Washington, D.C.
The Department did not assign a U.S. Attorney’s Office to the matter. According to Mr. D’Antuono, it was unusual to not have a U.S. Attorney assigned to an investigative matter, especially a matter of this magnitude. He explained that he “didn’t understand why there wasn’t a US Attorney assigned” and “raised this concern a lot with” Department officials because this was out of the ordinary. Mr. D’Antuono indicated that he “never got a good answer” and was told that the National Security Division would be handling this matter—with Jay Bratt, who leads the Department’s counterintelligence division, as “the lead prosecutor on the case.” Mr. Bratt is the same Department lawyer who allegedly improperly pressured a lawyer representing an employee of President Trump.10 Mr. D’Antuono again noted his concern regarding lessons learned from Crossfire Hurricane, that the Justice Department was not following the principle that “Headquarters does not work the investigation . . . .”
The FBI did not first seek consent to effectuate the search. Mr. D’Antuono recounted a meeting between FBI and Department officials during which the Department assertively pushed for the FBI to promptly execute the search warrant.12 Based upon his over-20-year tenure at the FBI, Mr. D’Antuono testified that he believed that the FBI, prior to resorting to a search warrant, should have sought consent to search the premises. He testified that this outcome would have been “the best thing for all parties” involved— “[f]or the FBI, for former President Trump, and for the country . . . .” Mr. D’Antuono indicated a belief that either you or Director Christopher Wray made the decision to seek a search warrant, despite opposition from the line agents working this case in the WFO. Following that meeting, Mr. D’Antuono described how Justice Department counterintelligence official George Toscas—who also reportedly worked on the “Crossfire Hurricane and Clinton email investigations”—told him that FBI agents were ready to execute the warrant.16 Mr. D’Antuono pushed back on the Department for trying to unilaterally allocate FBI resources.
The FBI refused to wait for President Trump’s attorney to be present before executing the search. Mr. D’Antuono testified that the FBI sought to exclude President Trump’s attorney from the search, a move with which Mr. D’Antuono disagreed. Mr. D’Antuono believed that the FBI should have worked with the attorney to get consent to search the residence prior to seeking a warrant for the search. Mr. D’Antuono believes that “there was a good likelihood that [they] could have gotten consent . . . .”