Donald Trump Announces 2016 White House Bid

spaminator

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Ohio gunman appeared to threaten FBI after search at Trump's Mar-a-Lago home
Ricky Shiffer was armed with nail gun and AR-15-style rifle when he tried to breach visitor screening area at FBI office

Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Mike Balsamo And Samantha Hendrickson
Publishing date:Aug 12, 2022 • 18 hours ago • 3 minute read • 15 Comments

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A gunman who died in a shootout after trying to get inside the FBI’s Cincinnati office apparently went on social media and called for federal agents to be killed “on sight” following the search at Donald Trump’s home, a law enforcement official said.


Federal investigators are examining social media accounts they believe are tied to the gunman, 42-year-old Ricky Shiffer, according to the official, who was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

At least one of the messages on Trump’s Truth Social media platform appeared to have been posted after Shiffer tried to breach the FBI office. It read: “If you don’t hear from me, it is true I tried attacking the F.B.I.”

Another message posted on the same site this week from @rickywshifferjr included a “call to arms” and urged people to “be ready for combat” after the FBI search at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

Authorities also are looking into whether Shiffer, a Navy veteran, had ties to far-right extremist groups such as the Proud Boys, the official said.



Shiffer was armed with a nail gun and an AR-15-style rifle when he tried to breach the visitor screening area at the FBI office Thursday, according to the official. Shiffer fled when agents confronted him.

He was later spotted by a state trooper along a highway and got into a gunbattle that ended with police killing him, authorities said.

The burst of violence unfolded amid FBI warnings that federal agents could face attacks following the search in Florida.

The FBI is investigating what happened in Cincinnati as an act of domestic extremism, according to the law enforcement official.

Shiffer is believed to have been in Washington in the days leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and may have been at the Capitol that day but was not charged with any crimes in connection with the riot, the official said.


Officials have warned of a rise in right-wing threats against federal agents since the FBI entered Trump’s estate in what authorities said was part of an investigation into whether he took classified documents with him after leaving the White House. Supporters of the former president have railed against the search, accusing the FBI and the Justice Department of using the legal system as a political weapon.

FBI Director Christopher Wray denounced the threats as he visited an FBI office in Omaha, Nebraska, on Wednesday, saying, “Violence against law enforcement is not the answer, no matter who you’re upset with.”

The FBI on Wednesday also warned its agents to avoid protesters and ensure their security key cards are “not visible outside FBI space,” citing an increase in social media threats against bureau personnel and offices.


A now-suspended Twitter account, @rickyshiffer, shared the same profile picture as the Truth Social account and similar opinions, including a call for armed conflict in the U.S. this past spring.

It included posts saying that “elections are rigged” against conservatives and that the country faces “tyranny.”

“I don’t think it’s a one-off incident,” said Amy Cooter, a researcher at Middlebury College who is an expert on militias. “I’m afraid there’s going to be a pocket full of people who feel compelled to act.”

Courthouses, government offices and election headquarters all could be targets, she said. “Anywhere is fair game now because these folks feel this a personal issue for them,” Cooter said.

Shiffer worked as an electrician, according to one of his social media profiles. He was a registered Republican who voted in the 2020 primary from Columbus, Ohio, and in the 2020 general election from Tulsa, Oklahoma, according to public records.


Court records show the Ohio Department of Taxation filed suit against him in June, seeking a $553 tax lien judgment, according to court records listing him at an address in St. Petersburg, Florida. He also previously lived at several addresses in Columbus and in Omaha, Nebraska.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1998 and served on the USS Columbia submarine from 1999 to 2003, according to military records. He later was an infantry soldier in the Florida Army National Guard from 2008 to 2011, when he was honourably discharged.

— Balsamo reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus, Ryan Foley in Iowa City, Iowa, John Seewer in Toledo, and Jim Mustian and researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.
 

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WARRANT UNSEALED: FBI seized 'top secret' documents from Trump home
Agents took 11 sets of classified records from the Florida estate during a search on Monday

Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Michael Balsamo, Zeke Miller And Eric Tucker
Publishing date:Aug 12, 2022 • 11 hours ago • 6 minute read • 119 Comments

WASHINGTON — The FBI recovered documents that were labeled “top secret” from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, according to court papers released Friday after a federal judge unsealed the warrant that authorized the unprecedented search this week.


A property receipt unsealed by the court shows FBI agents took 11 sets of classified records from the estate during a search on Monday.

The seized records include some marked not only top secret but also “sensitive compartmented information,” a special category meant to protect the nation’s most important secrets that if revealed publicly could cause “exceptionally grave” damage to U.S. interests. The court records did not provide specific details about information the documents might contain.

The warrant says federal agents were investigating potential violations of three different federal laws, including one that governs gathering, transmitting or losing defence information under the Espionage Act. The other statutes address the concealment, mutilation or removal of records and the destruction, alteration or falsification of records in federal investigations.


The property receipt also shows federal agents collected other potential presidential records, including the order pardoning Trump ally Roger Stone, a “leatherbound box of documents,” and information about the “President of France.” A binder of photos, a handwritten note, “miscellaneous secret documents” and “miscellaneous confidential documents” were also seized in the search.

Trump’s attorney, Christina Bobb, who was present at Mar-a-Lago when the agents conducted the search, signed two property receipts — one that was two pages long and another that is a single page.

In a statement earlier Friday, Trump claimed that the documents seized by agents were “all declassified,” and argued that he would have turned them over if the Justice Department had asked.



While incumbent presidents generally have the power to declassify information, that authority lapses as soon as they leave office and it was not clear if the documents in question have ever been declassified. And even an incumbent’s powers to declassify may be limited regarding secrets dealing with nuclear weapons programs, covert operations and operatives, and some data shared with allies.

Trump kept possession of the documents despite multiple requests from agencies, including the National Archives, to turn over presidential records in accordance with federal law.

The Mar-a-Lago search warrant served Monday was part of an ongoing Justice Department investigation into the discovery of classified White House records recovered from Trump’s home earlier this year. The Archives had asked the department to investigate after saying 15 boxes of records it retrieved from the estate included classified records.


It remains unclear whether the Justice Department moved forward with the warrant simply as a means to retrieve the records or as part of a wider criminal investigation. Multiple federal laws govern the handling of classified information, with both criminal and civil penalties, as well as presidential records.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, the same judge who signed off on the search warrant, unsealed the warrant and property receipt Friday at the request of the Justice Department after Attorney General Merrick Garland declared there was “substantial public interest in this matter,” and Trump said he backed the warrant’s “immediate” release. The Justice Department told the judge Friday afternoon that Trump’s lawyers did not object to the proposal to make it public.


In messages posted on his Truth Social platform, Trump wrote, “Not only will I not oppose the release of documents … I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents.”

The Justice Department’s request was striking because such warrants traditionally remain sealed during a pending investigation. But the department appeared to recognize that its silence since the search had created a vacuum for bitter verbal attacks by Trump and his allies, and felt that the public was entitled to the FBI’s side about what prompted Monday’s action at the former president’s home.

“The public’s clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred under these circumstances weighs heavily in favour of unsealing,” said a motion filed in federal court in Florida on Thursday.


The information was released as Trump prepares for another run for the White House. During his 2016 campaign, he pointed frequently to an FBI investigation into his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, over whether she mishandled classified information.

To obtain a search warrant, federal authorities must prove to a judge that probable cause exists to believe that a crime was committed. Garland said he personally approved the warrant, a decision he said the department did not take lightly given that standard practice where possible is to select less intrusive tactics than a search of one’s home.

In this case, according to a person familiar with the matter, there was substantial engagement with Trump and his representatives prior to the search warrant, including a subpoena for records and a visit to Mar-a-Lago a couple of months ago by FBI and Justice Department officials to assess how the documents were stored. The person was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.


FBI and Justice Department policy cautions against discussing ongoing investigations, both to protect the integrity of the inquiries and to avoid unfairly maligning someone who is being scrutinized but winds up ultimately not being charged. That’s especially true in the case of search warrants, where supporting court papers are routinely kept secret as the investigation proceeds.



In this case, though, Garland cited the fact that Trump himself had provided the first public confirmation of the FBI search, “as is his right.” The Justice Department, in its new filing, also said that disclosing information about it now would not harm the court’s functions.


The Justice Department under Garland has been leery of public statements about politically charged investigations, or of confirming to what extent it might be investigating Trump as part of a broader probe into the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The department has tried to avoid being seen as injecting itself into presidential politics, as happened in 2016 when then-FBI Director James Comey made an unusual public statement announcing that the FBI would not be recommending criminal charges against Clinton regarding her handling of email — and when he spoke up again just over a week before the election to notify Congress that the probe was being effectively reopened because of the discovery of new emails.


The attorney general also condemned verbal attacks on FBI and Justice Department personnel over the search. Some Republican allies of Trump have called for the FBI to be defunded. Large numbers of Trump supporters have called for the warrant to be released hoping they it will show that Trump was unfairly targeted.

“I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked,” Garland said of federal law enforcement agents, calling them “dedicated, patriotic public servants.”

Earlier Thursday, an armed man wearing body armour tried to breach a security screening area at an FBI field office in Ohio, then fled and was later killed after a standoff with law enforcement. A law enforcement official briefed on the matter identified the man as Ricky Shiffer and said he is believed to have been in Washington in the days leading up to the attack on the Capitol and may have been there on the day it took place.