Former President Donald Trump said Monday that the FBI “raided” his Florida home at Mar-a-Lago and even cracked his safe, with a source familiar telling NBC News that the search was tied to classified information Trump allegedly took with him from the White House to his Palm Beach resort in January 2021.
Trump also claimed in a written statement that the search — unprecedented in American history — was politically motivated, though he did not provide specifics.
“These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” Trump said in a lengthy email statement issued by his Save America political committee.
“After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate,” Trump said before bemoaning: “They even broke into my safe!”
In mid-January, the National Archives “arranged for the transport from Mar-a-Lago to the National Archives of 15 boxes that contained Presidential records, following discussions with President Trump’s representatives in 2021,” the agency said in a statement.
When the National Archives discovered the missing documents, it demanded them of the former president, who eventually turned over 15 boxes of the documents in February.
That same month, the National Archives and Records Administration asked the Justice Department to examine whether Trump’s handling of White House records violated federal law, a story first reported by The Washington Post and subsequently confirmed by NBC News sources.
Just hours before agents searched Trump’s residence on Monday, the FBI notified the Secret Service about the bureau’s plans to execute the warrant, according to a Secret Service official. The Secret Service facilitated access to the property, the official said, but did not participate in any aspect of the search.
It was unclear how long the FBI remained at Trump’s home.
The New York Times first reported the focus on the National Archives.
At Justice Department headquarters, a spokesperson declined to comment to NBC News. An official at the FBI Washington Field Office also declined to comment, and an official at the FBI field office in Miami declined to comment as well.
A senior law enforcement official in Florida confirmed to NBC News that there was “law enforcement activity” at Mar-A-Largo.
The White House said it was not given a heads up.
“We did not have notice of the reported action and would refer you to the Justice Department for any additional information,” a White House official said.
The FBI raid came days after Attorney General Merrick Garland told NBC News that the “most wide-ranging investigation” in Justice Department history was examining not only the rioters who invaded the Capitol and physically attacked officers, but was also examining whether anyone was “criminally responsible for interfering with the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another.”
Trump’s involvement in the Jan. 6 riot, which resulted in his second impeachment, is also the subject of a House committee examining the insurrection.
Of how the law enforcement action might affect Trump’s political aspirations, a person close to Trump said: “If he wasn’t running before, he is now.”
The source, who was not authorized to speak publicly, appeared to be suggesting that Trump might benefit from being an active candidate for the presidency if he faces legal jeopardy.
Trump is not at Mar-a-Lago, his winter residence. He often spends his summers at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey.
Marc Caputo reported from Miami, Ryan J. Reilly reported from Washington.
This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.