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Trump lawyer who was at Mar-a-Lago for FBI search describes the scene

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Latest on FBI's search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago home in classified records probe 09:32

Lindsey Halligan, a Florida-based attorney for former President Donald Trump, was at Mar-a-Lago and spoke with CBS News about the FBI search. Here's her description of what transpired:

Halligan received a call at around 10 a.m. Monday that FBI agents were at Trump's Palm Beach home, Mar-a-Lago, and they had a search warrant.

She was the second Trump attorney to arrive on scene, at about 11 a.m, after the search had begun. Christina Bobb, who used to be a TV host on the far right OAN Network, was already there.

Over the next eight hours, Halligan said 30-40 FBI personnel conducted the search. There were a handful dressed in suits, but most wore t-shirts, cargo pants, masks and gloves. Halligan estimates 10-15 FBI vehicles went in and out of the property, including a Ryder truck.

She didn't witness boxes or documents being loaded onto the truck, though she did not dispute FBI investigators took material from Mar-a-Lago — Halligan just didn't see it. 

Sources told CBS News that the FBI did, in fact, take boxes and documents from Mar-a-Lago, but no electronics. Two sources said that some, if not all, of the documents are potentially classified records. 

The National Archives and Records Administration retrieved 15 boxes of records, some of which contained classified material, from Mar-a-Lago in mid-January. Monday's search appears to be part of that Justice Department investigation.

Halligan says she and Bobb were barred from going inside the complex, forced to remain outside, between the ballroom and residence, on the grounds of Mar-a-Lago. 

According to Halligan, the FBI divided up the search into three areas: a bedroom, a storage area and an office.

She said she spoke with Trump who expressed shock about the FBI search. He said he thought he'd complied with investigators' requests. He told Halligan that the Justice Department has an open line to his attorneys and said that he's instructed them to turn over responsive documents if they have them. She said that the former president raised concerns about abuse of power by the Biden administration. 

U.S. officials confirm the search of Trump's home was approved by the highest levels of the Justice Department. Attorney General Merrick Garland is not expected to make any public statements about the investigation or the search, however. 

Halligan said the search warrant was sealed, and because she had not been party to this aspect of Trump's legal portfolio until Monday, did not know what kinds of documents the FBI might be looking for nor what kinds of documents the former president keeps with him at Mar-a-Lago. 

Nonetheless, she insisted that the government's search "was an appalling display of abuse and power — complete overkill." She also asserted that "if they needed documents, they could have asked. There's never been an issue with compliance." Halligan said the search came as a "huge surprise."

The search teams wrapped up their work at about 6:30 p.m. 

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