(PresidentialHill.com)- A renowned reputation manager says the FBI Mar-a-Lago raid requires a “smoking gun” to penetrate Donald Trump’s “formidable armor” and prevent “deep state” conspiracy accusations.
Monday, agents searched Mar-a-Lago for secret materials the former president allegedly removed from the White House. According to sources, these included nuclear weapons documents.
Newsweek asked five experts what the raid meant for the FBI and Trump’s reputations.
Reputation Rhino founder Todd William said Trump would use the raid to rally his base.
He said Donald Trump thrives on controversy and will use the Mar-a-Lago raid to bolster his following and generate cash.
In a time of economic hardship, the raid is unlikely to “dent Trump’s impregnable armor” unless it leads to “an indictment and finding of a smoking gun or cache of sensitive documents.”
If “nothing of significance is found,” Trump can “claim triumph,” validating “right-wing Republicans’ worst fears of a deep state conspiracy.”
If classified materials are found, the devil will be in the details—what documents were retained, why, and who benefits or loses from their use or misuse.
William added that if the documents are unimportant, even if classified, it will be perceived as a technicality, not much different in severity (or political consequence) than Hillary Clinton’s use of a private, personal email to conduct State Department business.
Eric Schiffer, CEO of Reputation Management Consultants, and Adam Petrilli, founder of NetReputation.com, agreed the FBI’s reputation would take initial damage among Republicans.
Schiffer added that the raid represents short-term harm to the FBI’s credibility with many conservatives because the facts behind the action have not manifested.
For Trump, it’s a vast power source with Republicans because it remakes him as a victim of government overreach, but it decimates independents who see the raid’s smoke and assume there’s a fire of criminality.
Petrilli said the FBI’s unwarranted raids on President Trump had damaged his character irreparably. These actions were meant to tarnish Trump’s reputation if no charges were filed.
GVATE CEO Seun Ajanwachuku claimed Trump fans will “perceive this as bullying.” The effort “may strengthen their support to Trump.”
Ajanwachuku said the raid “solidifies” Trump’s image among “non-followers.”
Two federal officials told Newsweek an informant provided intelligence for Monday’s raid, including document locations.
Retired FBI agent Jose Orench told Newsweek the agency is “always careful…and deliberate.”
“Being a former president elevates the stakes,” he remarked.