FBI raid could accelerate Trump presidential announcement

The FBI raid of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago golf club could accelerate a widely expected presidential announcement, insiders close to the billionaire told The Post.

“There are more and more people telling President Trump to announce right now. He’s got people calling him,” said one person in Trump’s orbit.

There is an increasingly widely held belief among Trump’s friends and hangers-on that the energy and outrage generated by the federal search is the perfect springboard for an announcement in the months before the midterm elections in November.

Donations to former President Donald Trump’s political action committee have soared since the FBI raid on his Mar-a-Lago estate.
AP Photo/Steve Helber

“In the days after the raid we saw all fundraising records broken. This isn’t my first rodeo. I know what the signs look like,” said Michael Caputo, a former assistant secretary of public affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services in 2020, who remains chummy with Trump.

Since the raid, Trump’s political action committee has raked in millions of dollars in new fundraising, the Washington Post reported. His Save America Political Action Committee had reported more than $100 million cash on hand before the raid, federal filings show.

Caputo, who last spoke with Trump at the Conservative Political Actions Conference in Dallas earlier this month, said he used to favor a more cautious approach, but his calculus — and advice — changed after the raid.

“My advice for the president [before] was you want elections to be about midterms and Joe Biden, not Donald Trump, but now with this raid Donald Trump is on the ballot no matter what happens in the midterms,” Caputo said.

Trump so far is approaching the matter cautiously, and not inclined to rush into an announcement, instead preferring to let the news coverage of the FBI raid unfold without his interference, other confidantes said.

Washington Dc, United States - December 29, 2016: FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation Headquarters, on Pennsylvania avenue sign with traffic reflections at night
Former President Donald Trump blasted the Department of Justice for invading his Florida estate.
Getty Images

On Thursday, West Palm Beach Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart — who gave the green light for the original raid — ruled that at least some of the affidavit justifying the search would be made public by the court. Team Trump meanwhile said video of the raid was recorded by Mar-a-Lago security cameras and could also potentially be released.

Trump has routinely dominated CPAC straw polls, fundraising and other metrics indicating he would be the 2024 GOP frontrunner, but some party grandees say he could be vulnerable to a primary.

“The primary vulnerability that Trump has …. is he is a change candidate running for the third time — and that’s really hard,” said one GOP strategist.

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