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Trump considers releasing FBI surveillance footage of Mar-a-Lago search

Washington (CNN)Some supporters of former President Donald Trump released surveillance footage of FBI agents carrying out search warrants CNN learned of a proposal that caused mixed reactions in his orbit at his Mar-a-Lago residence .

Sources close to Trump say the CCTV footage is so tightly guarded that the former president's aide is unsure whether he has seen it in full.

"I don't think it's been shared with anyone other than a lawyer," the person said.

But when asked by Fox's Sean Hannity earlier this week if the footage would be released, Trump's son Eric replied, "Absolutely Sean, when the time is right."

Advised the former president to release portions of the footage to the public, believing it could send a jolt of energy through some Republican base of Trump aides and allies. One person said there was discussion about featuring the August footage in a campaign-style ad, believing the footage could reinforce Trump's allegations of political persecution.

Another person close to Trump said it didn't matter if the former president and his team released the footage, and it didn't matter when, before he made his campaign announcement.

Others in Trump's orbit warned of potential risks to the former president if he released the tapes. Another person close to Trump said the release of the footage would allowfederal agents to visually comprehend the vast amount of material,including classified material, from his beachfront residence.

"Reading the large number of numbers on the inventory list and knowing that they may contain confidential documents," he warned. But seeing law enforcement actually haul more than a dozen boxes out of President Trump's house is another story.

Trump may also spend the next few months simply raising the specter of releasing footage to be used as a political weapon without actually doing so.

CNN has reached out to the FBI and the Justice Department for comment.

Federal prosecutors recently revealed that the investigation "involves highly sensitive material," and their investigation is ongoing and could lead to criminal charges.


It's unclear exactly what the surveillance footage shows, but Trump and his lawyers were caught by federal agents on Aug. 8, even after agents asked them to turn off the security cameras. He said the search was recorded. Jay Bratt, the head of the Justice Department's counterintelligence and export control division, who visited Mar-a-Lago in June, was the official who asked specific questions on the day of the raid, sources familiar with the matter said. told CNN.

The Department of Justice previously subpoenaed surveillance footage from the club, including outside the room where the documents were kept, as part of an ongoing investigation.

Trump Tuesday On his Truth Social platform, he wrote that FBI agents "demanded that all security cameras be turned off. We said no." It's not uncommon for the FBI to try to ensure cameras aren't capturing this sort of search when sensitive material is involved.

His imminent 2024 presidential election announcement will be a factor in the timing as the former president and his team consider whether and when to release surveillance footage. It could be, said a person familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity. Discussing pertinent issues. The former president is widely expected to run again, though he is still deciding when to officially start his campaign.

It is unclear whether he has consulted his current legal team regarding the potential impact of releasing surveillance footage. The ex-president reportedly hired a seasoned I was looking to hire a good lawyer.
Ty Cobb
Ty Cobb

But it's also bad. He'll do it for his enemies," said Ty Cobb, a former White House attorney under Trump. I don't have a lawyer who can help me figure it out, and I'm really thinking for myself."

Trump's attorney, Christina Bob, declined to comment on the record.

Among Trump supporters pushing for the release of either full or selected surveillance footage is former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. Pill the Nation' is an obvious reference to the movie The Matrix.

His second Trump supporter, who spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity, also urged the former president's team to release the footage, telling CNN to "see the FBI agents at the base." to bananas,” he said. "President Trump was walking around Mar-a-Lago while he was out of town." (The former president was at Trump Tower in New York City when the search took place last week.) 63} Trump and his supporters have repeatedly argued on social media that the GOP benefits from the frenzy of voters with low approval ratings. The Justice Department abused its powers by executing a search warrant at the former president's residence.

But by releasing the tapes, the FBI planted evidence in Mar-a-Lago. MAGA personalities can invalidate some of the most conspiratorial excuses for searches circulating in recent times, including the unsubstantiated idea that After acknowledging the FBI seizure receipt at the end of the search, there is no evidence to support this.

Trump said "no one" was allowed to watch the FBI search his home before revealing he had surveillance cameras on in Mar-a-Lago. claimed no.

"People in New York, President Trump and his family, probably had a better view than I did. I had CCTV, so I could see them." Real America's Voice aired last Thursday. A few days later, Bob told right-wing commentator Tomi Lahren that she had misunderstood the situation and had no idea who had seen the surveillance footage, live or taped. Cobb, a lawyer, said he was skeptical that Trump would eventually release the footage.

"If anything goes wrong, if someone plants evidence or points to something like that, it's going to be really explosive," Cobb said. That's the main reason I doubt they'll put it out there because they haven't shown they're planting evidence and I'm pretty sure that ridiculous claim has been taken off the table

Leverage it

More political moves for Trump as he considers a third presidential election is to make fun of the existence of security footage and not to create it. Publish. It would be a familiar strategy for Trump, who routinely promised to provide evidence of his innocence when he faced sexual harassment allegations during the 2016 presidential election, but rarely followed through.

81} "You lose power as a lever when you get out," said Cobb.

Trump had already asked for the release of the warrant that prompted FBI agents to search his Palm Beach mansion last week, as well as a list of items seized on the property. DOJ. The former president also urged Justice of the Peace Bruce Reinhart to release the underlying affidavit that was central to federal investigators obtaining a search warrant for Mar-a-Lago.

In a Truth Social Monday article, Trump said:

The Justice Department this week objected to press requests to open affidavits, which could jeopardize ongoing investigations and discourage future witnesses from cooperating.