FBI took 11 sets of classified documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, including some highly classified material
Aug 12, 2022, 2:14 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:20 am
(AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)
(CNN) — The search warrant for Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home shows the FBI recovered 11 sets of classified documents from its search earlier this week, including some materials marked as “top secret/SCI” — one of the highest levels of classification, according to documents from the search warrant that were released Friday.
The search warrant identifies three federal crimes that the Justice Department is looking at as part of its investigation: violations of the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice and criminal handling of government records, according to The New York Times. The inclusion of the crimes indicates the Justice Department has probable cause to investigate those offenses as it was gathering evidence in the search. No one has been charged with a crime at this time.
Federal agents seized just one set of “top secret/SCI” documents, according to the search warrant receipt. Agents took four sets of “top secret” documents, three sets of “secret” documents, and three sets of “confidential” documents. The warrant receipt didn’t detail what these classified documents were about.
In total, the unsealed warrant shows the FBI collected more than 20 boxes, as well as binders of photos, sets of classified government materials and at least one handwritten note.
The warrant, which has been unsealed and released publicly following a federal judge’s order on Friday, was obtained by CNN ahead of its release. The moment marks an unprecedented week that began with the search — an evidence-gathering step in a national security investigation about the mishandling of classified documents.
Among the items taken from Trump’s resort was a document about pardoning Roger Stone, a staunch Trump ally who was convicted in 2019 of lying to Congress during its probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. (Trump pardoned Stone before leaving office, shielding Stone from a three-year prison term.)
It’s unclear how the Stone-related document seized during the search is tied to the broader criminal probe into Trump’s potential mishandling of classified materials.
During the search, FBI agents also recovered material about the “President of France,” according to the warrant receipt.
The FBI search at the resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday was followed by days of silence from the Justice Department, as is the department’s normal practice for ongoing investigations.
Then on Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the department had moved to unseal the search warrant and two attachments, including an inventory list, but also stressed that some of the department’s work must happen outside of public view.
“We do that to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans and to protect the integrity of our investigations,” Garland said, while explaining that he would not provide more detail about the basis of the search.
Trump said in a late-night post on his Truth Social platform Thursday that he would “not oppose the release of documents,” adding: “I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents.”
The court had instructed the Justice Department to confer with Trump about its request to unseal the warrant documents from the FBI search and to tell the court by 3 p.m. ET Friday if he opposes their release.
Trump’s team had contacted outside attorneys about how to proceed, and the former President’s orbit was caught off guard by Garland’s announcement.
In a pair of posts to Truth Social following Garland’s statement, Trump continued to claim that his attorneys were “cooperating fully” and had developed “very good relationships” with federal investigators prior to Monday’s search at Mar-a-Lago.
“The government could have had whatever they wanted, if we had it,” Trump said. “Everything was fine, better than most previous Presidents, and then, out of nowhere and with no warning, Mar-a-Lago was raided, at 6:30 in the morning, by VERY large numbers of agents, and even ‘safecrackers.'”
This story and headline have been updated with additional developments.
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