FBI's search of Trump's Florida estate: Why now?

The entrance to former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate is shown, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump said in a lengthy statement that the FBI was conducting a search of his Mar-a-Lago estate and asserted that agents had broken open a safe. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

WASHINGTON (AP) - The FBI's unprecedented search of former President Donald Trump's Florida residence ricocheted around government, politics and a polarized country Tuesday along with questions as to why the Justice Department - notably cautious under Attorney General Merrick Garland - decided to take such a drastic step.

Answers weren't quickly forthcoming.

Agents on Monday searched Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, which is also a private club, as part of a federal investigation into whether the former president took classified records from the White House to his Florida residence, people familiar with the matter said. It marked a dramatic escalation of law enforcement scrutiny of Trump, who faces an array of inquiries tied to his conduct in the waning days of his administration.

From echoes of Watergate to the more immediate House probe of the Jan.