Donald Trump’s biographer Timothy O’Brien has called the former president a “deeply ignorant man” who “understood the stakes the minute that search warrant that was executed” at his Mar-a-Lago residence last week.
While conducting searches at Mr Trump’s private residence and office in Florida, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recovered 11 sets of classified documents.
Some of the documents were marked top secret, with some of them only meant to be viewed in a secure government facility.
Mr Trump has claimed that the documents had been declassified.
The author of TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald said in an MSNBC panel discussion that the former president’s “secret power” was “messaging” and that he seized upon this in the time interval between the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago and the Justice Department’s official statement on it.
“Then there was this void around how to interpret the FBI search, and he leapt into that by labeling it a raid and saying the United States had a broken legal system, just like third world countries and this was a political hit,” Mr O’Brien explained.
“All that got embraced by Fox News and the enablers in the GOP. And they had about two new cycles worth of momentum out of that. By the time Merrick Garland belatedly gave guidance to the American public about what the Justice Department’s intentions were here, I think the wheel had turned,” he added.
Mr O’Brien said it is possible the former president found some financial incentives in these documents.
“Donald Trump’s business is under enormous stress,” he pointed out, explaining that New York attorney general Letitia James’ investigation into his real estate dealings “could put him out of business”.
“He owes a lot of debt. His son-in-law and former Treasury Secretary both cashed in under relationships with the Saudis,” Mr O’Brien added.
“I think he saw people in his administration monetising their service. I think we can’t put it past anyone that Trump saw some of these documents as avenues for him to making money,” he said.
“I think that the third possible basket here is damage control for his own reputation, actions you might have taken before your eyes leadership while he was president.”
On Monday, Mr Trump said to Fox News that Americans are “not going to stand for another scam” as the unsealed search warrant revealed he was being investigated for obstruction of justice and possible violations of the Espionage Act, as well as other offences.