The 90-day policy the FBI was probably following when it raided Trump's Mar-a-Lago home
- The FBI raid on Trump's Mar-a-Lago home on Monday.
- The timing was in line with a policy the DOJ has of not taking certain steps within 90 days before an election.
The FBI came in just under deadline when it conducted an unprecedented raid on former President Donald Trump's Palm Beach resort home Monday.
The timing — before Trump announced his candidacy and months out from the midterms — appears to be in line with the Department of Justice standard of not taking overt investigative steps that could be perceived as politically motivated within 90 days of an election.
Elie Honig, a former federal and state prosecutor, told CNN the decision to execute the raid on August 8 is likely because midterm elections were coming up in exactly three months — on November 8.
"Today is just about 90 days out exactly from the midterms, I think maybe 91 or 92 days out," Konig told CNN. "That policy, that may be a reason why they did it today because they want to stay clear of that if they're interpreting that as a 90 day rule."
In July, a May memo from Attorney General Merrick Garland surfaced that reiterated the Justice Department policy requiring high-level approval of politically sensitive investigations.
The memo — titled "Election Year Sensitivities" — served as a reminder of the DOJ's longstanding policy of avoiding steps that could be perceived as partisan and designed to influence an election result.
Garland's memo also pointed to a new addition to the policy, ordered by then-Attorney General William Barr in February 2020, requiring that the Justice Department leader approve any investigations into presidential candidates.
"This is particularly important in an election year," Garland wrote. "Now that the 2022 election season is upon us, and as in prior election cycles, I am issuing this memorandum to remind you of the department's existing policies with respect to political activities."
At the time, the memo set off a firestorm on social media, dropping as Trump weighed an early announcement of a third White House run and validating concerns that Garland's Justice Department would stall and Trump would avoid criminal liability.
Those fears were allayed Monday.
And while the Mar-a-Lago raid came within the 90-day window from the midterm elections, that won't stop some critics from calling foul over what they see as a politically motivated raid.
"The timing before election appears to be a very strategic move," said Anand Ahuja, an attorney and owner of Law Offices of Anand Ahuja. "Politics is a very dirty game. This is probably the first time this has never happened in the history of the United States where an ex-president has been subjected to FBI raids."
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