FBI Answers Trump Claim He Could've Been Shot

Fundraising email misconstrues wording of policy intended to limit the use of force
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2024 4:30 PM CDT
Trump Uses Policy's Wording to Claim He Could've Been Shot
An armed Secret Service agent stands outside an entrance to former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate on Aug. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

Donald Trump included a false claim in a fundraising email this week that President Biden had authorized the FBI to shoot him when agents searched his Florida estate for classified documents in 2022—though the agency had intentionally chosen a day for the raid when the former president wouldn't be home. Despite that fact and the FBI's statement about the allegation, at least one Trump ally and his campaign staff amplified the false claim, the Washington Post reports. Trump appeared to be misrepresenting a standard Justice Department policy released Tuesday in a court filing.

The FBI said Tuesday its search followed the usual protocol, per Axios, which it said "includes a standard policy statement limiting the use of deadly force." Every order contains a reminder of the policy, a former FBI official posted on X. The policy says agents may only use lethal force if there's an "imminent danger of death or serious physical injury" to someone. "They were authorized to shoot me!" Trump wrote in the email, also saying "Joe Biden was locked & loaded ready to take me out." He put something similar on Truth Social. Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene escalated the accusation to a government plan to assassinate Trump. A Trump campaign spokesman stuck to the accusation, per the New York Times.

The FBI had contacted Mar-a-Lago's Secret Service agents ahead of time to ensure there'd be no confrontations, and the agents discussed the search first with the Justice Department, per the AP. The FBI's Steve D'Antuono testified before the House Judiciary Committee last year that agents did not go into Trump's club, which was closed that day, like gangbusters. "We're not banging down any doors," he said. "We weren't bringing any like FBI vehicles, everything that was reported about helicopters and a hundred people descending on, like a Die Hard movie, was completely untrue, right. That is not how we played it." (More Donald Trump 2024 stories.)

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