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Republican attacks on FBI over search of Donald Trump mansion is putting American agents at risk, warns Kamala Harris

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US vice president Kamala Harris

US vice president Kamala Harris

US vice president Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris yesterday branded Republican attacks on the FBI over the raid at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate as potentially putting agents in harm’s way.

The US vice president responded to suggestions by Republican senators that the raid was politically motivated.

Her comments came after a search warrant released by a court late on Friday showed 11 sets of classified documents were removed by agents from Mr Trump’s Florida home.

The warrant was granted after the FBI showed probable cause of potential violations of the Espionage Act.

Mr Trump called Monday’s raid a “witch hunt” and suggested that the FBI might “plant” evidence. Leading Republicans have rallied to his defence.

But Ms Harris said: “I think it’s just highly irresponsible of anyone who calls themselves a leader and certainly anyone who represents the United States of America to engage in rhetoric for the sake of some political objective that can result in harm to law enforcement officers and agents.”

Three days after the FBI raid, a man attacked the FBI field office in Cincinnati, Ohio, brandishing an assault rifle and nail gun.

He then fled and, following a chase, was shot dead by police.

It emerged late on Friday that the gunman, Ricky Walter Shiffer Jr, 42, was a veteran of the US Navy and Florida National Guard.

He had served as a fire control technician on the nuclear-powered submarine USS Columbia. That meant at one point he himself would have had ‘top secret’ security clearance.

He was under investigation in connection with the January 6, 2021 riot by Trump supporters at the US Capitol.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the gunman had posted on Mr Trump’s social network Truth Social before attacking the FBI. Shiffer wrote: “People this is it. I hope a call to arms comes from someone better qualified, but if not, this is your call to arms from me.”

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After his attempt to storm the FBI office failed, he wrote: “Well, I thought I had a way through bulletproof glass, and I didn’t.”

The records seized from Mar-a-Lago include some marked ‘Sensitive Compartmented Information’, a special category above ‘Top Secret’ that is meant to protect the most important US secrets.

The classification is given to files that, if revealed publicly, could cause “exceptionally grave” damage to US interests. There were no details in the warrant about what specific information the documents might contain.

Mr Trump has rejected as a “hoax” reports there may have been documents relating to nuclear programmes.

According to the warrant, the FBI was investigating potential violations of three different laws.

That included one that governs gathering, transmitting or losing defence information under the Espionage Act.

The other laws involved the concealment, mutilation or removal of records and the destruction, alteration or falsification of records.

A property receipt released by the court in Florida showed documents taken away by the FBI also included a presidential order made by Mr Trump pardoning his friend Roger Stone.

There was also a “leather bound box of documents,” information about the “president of France,” a binder of photos, a handwritten note and “miscellaneous secret documents”.

Mr Trump claimed all the documents seized by agents had already been “declassified,” and alleged that he would have turned them over if the Justice Department had asked him to. 

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]


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