WASHINGTON - The FBI has bolstered security at its offices across the country in wake of increasing threats to federal law enforcement officers following the search of former President Donald Trump's Florida estate, according to two sources familiar with the activity.
The defensive action comes as the bureau and Department of Homeland Security issued a weekend bulletin expressing concern for an extraordinarily volatile environment. It cited last week's attempted breach of the FBI's Cincinnati office by an assailant who is believed to have made provocative posts on Truth Social, the social media site founded by Trump.
The warnings came in the aftermath of the FBI seizing 11 sets of documents during a search of Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8. The search represented an unprecedented criminal investigation of a former president.
Days before the Trump search, FBI Director Christopher Wray expressed deep concern for rising violence in the U.S. driven by an array of domestic grievances, from election-related disputes to lingering anger following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the landmark abortion-rights case Roe v. Wade.
"I feel like everyday I'm getting briefed on somebody throwing a molotov cocktail at someone for some issue," Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee. "It's crazy."
Describing an unusually volatile environment, Wray lamented that law enforcement officers have been increasingly targeted, with an "alarming" number killed in ambush attacks.
In new territory: The latest unprecedented Trump chapter brings mystery and political thorniness
House GOP tells DOJ to preserve documents about search
Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee wrote Monday to Attorney General Merrick Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray and White House chief of staff Ron Klain, telling them to preserve documents related to the search of Donald Trump's estate.
The letters asked to preserve all documents relating to the execution of the search, all documents about communications related to the decision to conduct the search and all documents and communications referring to confidential human sources relating to the search. Garland has said he personally authorized the search.
Republicans are limited in how much they can investigate under Democratic House leadership. But Republicans are preparing multiple investigations of the Biden administration and Democrats, in anticipation of regaining control of the House in the 2022 midterm elections.
"The FBI's unprecedented raid of President Trump's residence is a shocking escalation of the Biden Administration's weaponization of law-enforcement resources against its political opponents," wrote the lawmakers led by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. "The American people deserve answers for the Biden Administration's continued misuse of law-enforcement resources against its political opponents."
What was seized in search?
Despite the Justice Department releasing the search warrant of Donald Trump's Florida resort, details remained unclear Monday about what federal authorities seized in the unprecedented criminal investigation of a former president.
The search warrant unsealed Friday said "secret" and "top secret" documents were among the 11 sets of documents removed from the Mar-a-Lago. The warrant said Trump was under investigation for potential improper removal of classified documents, obstruction of justice and violations of the Espionage Act.
But the department hasn't said what sorts of documents were found. While Trump denounced the raid and supported the release of the search warrant, he hasn't said what was taken, either.
The search came at a time when Trump and his associates are under scrutiny from the FBI, the Justice Department, the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies.
Two days after the Mar-a-Lago search, Trump asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during a deposition related to a separate civil fraud investigation into the Trump Organization's finances led by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Trump investigations: Trump in midst of gathering storm of investigations. Mar-a-Lago document inquiry is one of many.
Congress has questions about search
Congressional committees want to know more about the search and what was found.
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said the search warrant disclosed "a serious risk" to disclosure of national secrets.
"That is among the highest of designation in terms of the extremely grave damage to national security that could be done if it were disclosed," Schiff told "Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan" on CBS on Sunday. "So, the fact that they were in an unsecure place that is guarded with nothing more than a padlock or whatever security they had at a hotel is deeply alarming."
Schiff and the head of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., have asked for a damage assessment from the director of national intelligence.
More: Trump calls DOJ probe a 'hoax'; experts, citing the Espionage Act, have a grimmer assessment
GOP seeks justification for search
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor, wants to learn more about what justified the search from the affidavit submitted to justify probable cause for the search, which remains sealed.
"It was an unprecedented action that needs to be supported by unprecedented justification," Fitzpatrick told "Face the Nation." "This has never happened before in our country's history."
Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., on NBC's "Meet the Press," said the Justice Department needs to lay out its case to "show that this was not just a fishing expedition."
Why did Trump keep the documents?
Another open question is why Trump kept the documents in the first place.
The Presidential Records Act says all presidential documents must be retained, both for current reference and the historical record. The documents are supposed to be retained even if they weren't classified.
But the National Archives and Records Administration, which traditionally stores presidential documents, earlier discovered boxes of materials missing.
The agency in January obtained 15 boxes of presidential records that the former president had stored at his Mar-a-Lago club, including correspondence with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that Trump described as "love letters," as well as a letter former President Barack Obama left before Trump's inauguration.
Trump advisers denied "any nefarious intent" and told The Washington Post the boxes contained "mementos, gifts, letters from world leaders and other correspondence."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: FBI boosts security; GOP wants Mar-a-Lago search details: live updates