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EXCLUSIVE: Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Banks met with former President Trump at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster Tuesday evening, and said the former commander-in-chief is “very upbeat,” and has “made up his mind” about 2024—a decision he will make public in “a matter of time.”
Banks, R-Ind., and nearly a dozen members of the House Republican Study Committee, including Reps. Brian Babin, Mike Kelly, Claudia Tenney, Victoria Spartz, Pat Fallon, Mike Carey, Lisa McClain, Michael Cloud, Randy Weber, Troy Nehls, and Erin Houchin, a congressional candidate from Indiana, met with Trump at his New Jersey retreat.
“He didn’t seem defeated in the least bit—he was very fired up, very upbeat,” Banks told Fox News of Trump’s attitude, just a day after the FBI raided his home at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla.
“It was a great three hour-long conversation about what House Republicans are doing now to win back the majority and what we are going to do with it when we win,” Banks said.
As for Trump’s plans with regard to a 2024 White House run, Banks said the former president told the group that he “has made up his mind.”
“He said we are going to like his decision and it is only a matter of time before he will make that decision known,” Banks told Fox News, adding that Trump “enjoyed encouragement” from RSC members Tuesday to “get the decision out sooner rather than later.”
“He only helps us win back more seats in November,” Banks said. “The Republican Party is bigger and stronger than ever before because of Donald Trump’s leadership.”
Banks said that Republicans “need Trump voters to come out in a big way to grow a historic GOP House majority to then pave the way to win the White House in 2024.”
Trump was in New York City while his home in Palm Beach, Florida, was raided.
FBI agents would not allow Trump lawyers watch as they raided Trump’s private residence early Monday morning, a source told Fox News.
A source familiar with the raid told Fox News the warrant for the raid was related to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) effort to collect records and materials the former president took with him from Washington, D.C., to Mar-a-Lago.
“There is no need for any of this,” the source said, adding the FBI “wouldn’t let the attorneys come in to watch the raid. They told them to leave.”
The source told Fox News that when NARA visited Mar-a-Lago in February, Trump and his team “gave them what they wanted.”
“It was all provided to them,” the source said. “This is absurd.”
Another source told Fox News negotiations and communications “never broke down.”
Earlier this year, NARA said Trump took 15 boxes of presidential records to his personal residence in Florida. Those boxes allegedly contained “classified national security information” and official correspondence between Trump and foreign heads of state.
NARA notified Congress in February that the agency recovered the 15 boxes from Mar-a-Lago and “identified items marked as classified national security information within the boxes.”
“The National Archives did not ‘find’ anything, they were given, upon request, Presidential Records in an ordinary and routine process to ensure the preservation of my legacy and in accordance with the Presidential Records Act,” Trump said in a February statement, adding that Democrats “are in search of their next scam.”
The matter was referred to the Justice Department by NARA.
An FBI source confirmed that FBI agents from Washington, D.C., on the bureau’s Evidence Response Team conducted the raid and notified the Miami Field Office just before doing so.
A separate source familiar with the raid told Fox News agents brought a “safe cracker” and cracked a “relatively new” safe in Mar-a-Lago but found “nothing in it.”
Another source told Fox News that FBI agents went to Mar-a-Lago and looked in every single office and safe and grabbed documents and boxes without going through them on the property. They took boxes and documents to go through them later.
“They were not being judicious about what they took,” that source told Fox News.
Banks, on Tuesday night, said what happened at Mar-a-Lago only unites the Republican Party.
“What happened at Mar-a-Lago unifies Republicans in our outrage,” Banks told Fox News. “If anything, what the left and the corrupt Biden administration has done will only backfire on them, as they see that the American people stand with President Trump.”
He added: “The House GOP is fighting back. We stand united in outrage against the Biden White House and DOJ, and we stand with President Trump.”