A high-ranking official from the FBI, Steven D’Antuono, has recently spoken out to Congress regarding alleged violations of protocols during the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump’s resort, in August of last year. D’Antuono is a significant whistleblower, having played a prominent role in the investigation of the kidnapping plot against Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. This involvement led to his promotion as Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office in 2020. Following that, D’Antuono’s office was responsible for coordinating the arrests and prosecutions of numerous individuals associated with the January 6 protests.
In a letter addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio stated that D’Antuono voluntarily approached the House Judiciary Committee to express his concerns about the way the FBI conducted the raid on Mar-a-Lago. The letter highlights the significance of D’Antuono’s testimony and suggests that it is crucial for further investigation and examination of the matter.
“On June 7, 2023—days before the reported indictment of former President Trump—the Committee conducted a transcribed interview of Steven D’Antuono,” Jordan wrote.
“Mr. D’Antuono served as the former Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office (WFO) and one of the most senior FBI officials in charge of effectuating the unprecedented raid of President Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago. During his testimony, Mr. D’Antuono expressed strong concerns with the Department’s pursuit of the raid and noted several unusual features in the Department’s handling of the case.”
Jordan highlighted 4 major ways the FBI deviated from standard operating procedure in pursuing its investigation into Trump:
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
Following the revelation of Steven D’Antuono’s concerns about the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago, Representative Jim Jordan requested that Attorney General Merrick Garland provide all relevant documents and communications related to the execution of the raid. This includes information about meetings held by officials from the Department of Justice before the search and any correspondence exchanged between employees of the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the U.S. Secret Service.
D’Antuono’s retirement in November 2022, after serving as Assistant Director in Charge of the Washington Field Office for just two years, has raised speculation that he may have retired preemptively to prepare for potential investigations by House Republicans.
Darren Beattie from Revolver News, who extensively covered D’Antuono’s role in the mass arrests of Trump supporters following the events of January 6, noted that D’Antuono’s decision to come forward to Congress is seen as a significant development in uncovering the truth behind the controversial Mar-a-Lago raid. This development could potentially shed light on the legitimacy and motivations behind the operation.
“His conscience is so guilty, he’s so animated by the need to cover his bases because of the crimes and corruption of the FBI, he voluntarily put himself forth before the Judiciary Committee, and basically said, ‘the Mar-a-Lago raid was absolutely legitimate,’” Beattie said Tuesday.
“And this is the basis of these sham charges,” he noted, referring to the DOJ’s federal indictment against Trump. “And so, that gives you a sense of how bad it is.”