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Trump falsely claims Biden, FBI had plan to assassinate him during Mar-a-Lago search

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(NEW YORK) — The FBI has issued a rare statement after former President Donald Trump and several GOP lawmakers spread false claims suggesting President Joe Biden authorized his assassination during the search of his Mar-a-Lago resort in 2022.

In a fundraising email responding to right-wing media reports that offered a distorted reading of a newly-unsealed court filing in Trump’s classified documents case, Trump falsely claimed Biden was “locked & loaded ready to take me out.”

In a separate post on his Truth Social platform Tuesday evening, Trump further said he was “shown Reports” that Biden’s DOJ “AUTHORIZED THE FBI TO USE DEADLY (LETHAL) FORCE” in their search of the property for classified documents.

Behind Trump’s false claims is a major misrepresentation of an otherwise boilerplate policy memo that was included in newly-unsealed documents that accompanied a filing from Trump’s own lawyers in his classified documents case in Florida on Tuesday.

The memo was part of a ‘Law Enforcement Operations Order’ drawn up by agents preparing to carry out the search of Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8, 2022, after a magistrate judge agreed the government had shown probable cause that agents would find evidence of unlawfully retained national defense information and obstruction of justice on the premises.

In their search, agents ultimately recovered around 100 documents with classification markings — months after the government subpoenaed Trump for any remaining in his possession, and after the government says it gathered evidence Trump had misled his own lawyers to sign a false certification asserting all such documents had been returned.

“The FBI followed standard protocol in this search as we do for all search warrants, which includes a standard policy statement limiting the use of deadly force,” the FBI said in a statement Tuesday evening. “No one ordered additional steps to be taken and there was no departure from the norm in this matter.”

Multiple former FBI and DOJ officials also confirmed the standard nature of the inclusion of the deadly force policy.

“Anytime the fbi takes an adversarial action like executing a search warrant, there is a deadly force policy,” former DOJ official and ABC News contributor Sarah Isgur tweeted. “If there is danger to you or public and there’s no alternatives, you are authorized to use deadly force. This is standard policy.”

Trump and two co-defendants have pleaded not guilty to all charges against them and denied wrongdoing.

For their part, Trump’s attorneys in their filing Tuesday made no such accusation that the inclusion of the policy showed Biden was preparing to assassinate Trump, and it’s not immediately clear whether they had shared the information – part of a vast trove of discovery in his case — with Trump prior to it being unsealed.

While Trump said he first learned of the filing after being “shown Reports” about it after court proceedings were finished in his New York state criminal hush money case, Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene later posted on X she “made sure” Trump knew about the false claim the “Biden DOJ and FBI were planning to assassinate” him.

The operations order further shows how agents were well aware Trump would not be present at the property during the search, as it was carried out during Mar-a-Lago’s off-season when Trump normally resides at his property in Bedminster, New Jersey.

They did, however, include a contingency plan in the event Trump showed up at the property mid-search, at which time they said FBI personnel on site would be prepared “to engage with” him and his Secret Service security detail. The full context shows there’s no suggestion of the situation escalating into violence, and that it was more about assigning points of contact responsible for speaking with members of Trump’s detail.

The order also further bolsters testimony from the former director of the FBI’s Washington, D.C,. field office Steve D’Antuono, who previously testified to Congress he was “adamant” agents executing the warrant “didn’t do a show of force.”

“It wasn’t even a show of force, right, because we were all in agreement,” D’Antuono said in an exchange with Rep. Jim Jordan, the Ohio Republican who chairs the House Judiciary Committee. “No raid jackets, no blazed FBI … 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.”

The operation order shows case agents on scene were instructed to dress ‘business casual’ with ‘unmarked polo or collared shirts’ and other law enforcement equipment concealed.

In a floor speech Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer slammed Trump for falsely accusing the Justice Department of authorizing the FBI to use “deadly (lethal) force” during its search at Mar-a-Lago.

Schumer said Trump’s words can incite violence and get people killed, and cause people to lose faith in democracy.

“What Donald Trump said, falsely suggesting his political opponents are out to kill him, is beyond the pale and is the stuff that leads to political violence,” Schumer said.

ABC News’ Mariam Khan contributed to this report.

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