Top secret documents among records seized from Trump
WASHINGTON (CN) — The FBI retrieved top secret documents from the residence of former President Donald Trump during its raid on his south Florida home, Mar-a-Lago, according to court records that were unsealed by a federal judge on Friday.
Records unsealed by the court show the FBI took around 20 boxes of documents from Mar-a-largo including 11 sets of classified records. Some of the documents were marked as TS/SCI or top secret/sensitive compartmented information, which refers to a higher level security clearance.
Trump claimed all the documents seized by FBI agents were “all declassified” in a statement on Friday.
According to the search warrant, the FBI was searching for documents illegally possessed in violation of the Espionage Act. The warrant cites three criminal laws from the act including concealment, removal, or mutilation; gathering, transmitting or losing defense information; and destruction, alteration or falsification of record in federal investigations.
The warrant gave agents permission to search all storage rooms and areas Trump and his staff use on his estate — which was described as a mansion with about 58 bedrooms and 33 bathrooms on a 17-acre estate.
Among the other items taken from Trump’s estate were Roger Stone’s grant of clemency, a handwritten note, binders of photos, and what is described as “info re: President of France.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the government’s intention to unseal the records during a press conference Thursday. Garland said he was taking the rare step of making the warrant public because of Trump’s comments confirming the FBI search of his property. Garland also cited “surrounding circumstances and the substantial public interest in the matter.” Late Thursday night Trump announced that he would not object to the Department of Justice making the documents public.
“Not only will I not oppose the release of documents related to the unAmerican, unwarranted, and unnecessary raid…I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents,” Trump said in a statement.
Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart is presiding over the matter in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Trump confirmed reports of a search on his property in a social media post on Monday. He condemned the FBI and described his property as “under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents.” He said agents had searched his safe and claimed: “nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before.”
Republicans threatened to investigate the DOJ following the raid.
“When Republicans take back the House, we will conduct immediate oversight of this department, follow the facts, and leave no stone unturned,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement.
McCarthy warned Garland to preserve his documents and clear his calendar.
“The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization,” McCarthy said.
Trump tried to equate the documents on his property with records former President Barack Obama kept after he left office. The National Archives and Records Administration issued a statement on Friday to counter the false statements by Trump on this matter.
The NARA said it moved about 30 million pages of unclassified records to one of its facilities in Chicago. The statement went on to say NARA also maintains classified records from Obama in a Washington, D.C. facility. NARA maintains these records since Obama is not able to under the Presidential Records Act.
Outside of the search of his home, Trump also lost a battle in the fight to keep his tax records from Congress. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court said the House Ways and Means Committee could seize the former president’s tax returns from the IRS.
Trump also participated in a court-ordered deposition in New York this week where he invoked his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination more than 400 times.