Donald Trump obtained classified documents – some marked as top secret – about his whereabouts at Mar-a-Lago, an FBI affidavit has revealed.
The 32-page document, even in redacted form, contains additional details about an ongoing criminal investigation on Mr. Trump as he laid the groundwork for another presidential run.
Released by the US Department of Justice, it highlights the amount of sensitive government documents Mr. Trump took to Mar-a-Lago and the FBI’s concern that the records were kept illegally.
While there are some details regarding the investigation, officials have also chopped up large sections to protect the identities of witnesses and avoid disclosing sensitive investigative tactics.
“The government is conducting a criminal investigation into the improper deletion and storage of classified information in unauthorized spaces, as well as the illegal concealment or deletion of government records.” , an FBI agent wrote on the first page of his affidavit as he asked the judge’s permission. for a property search warrant
The affidavit does not provide new details about 11 sets of classified documents recovered during the search on 8 August at Mar-a-Lago.
However, it does describe a separate batch of 15 boxes that the National Archives and Records Administration received from his home in January – a year after he left the White House.
In those boxes, according to the affidavit, officials found 184 documents bearing the mark of classification, of which 67 were marked as classified, 92 secret and 25 top secret.
Agents who checked the boxes found signs related to information provided by classified human sources as well as information related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
The representative said the Justice Department has reason to believe that many of these files that have not been returned to the government are still in Mr. Trump’s home.
The FBI submitted an affidavit to the judge to obtain a warrant to search Trump’s property on Aug.
Analysis: Why does Trump have these documents?
It was the handover of documents from Donald Trump’s possession to the National Archives eight months ago that proved key in the FBI’s raid on Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home this month. this.
Back in January, after months of pressure, Mr. Trump’s team handed over 15 boxes of documents.
Teams at the National Archives checked the boxes and discovered 700 pages of classified documents. They referred the case to the Department of Justice and an investigation was launched.
So far, from the unedited portions of the newly released affidavit, the FBI has found 184 documents bearing various classification marks in 15 boxes.
67 information is marked as confidential, 92 as secret and 25 as top secret. Insiders say that a top secret document is one that can do particularly serious damage to national security.
According to the affidavit, witnesses said there may have been more presidential documents at Mar-a-Lago.
This witness’ testimony, coupled with an examination of CCTV footage seized from Mar-a-Lago that allegedly showed documents being moved around, prompted the August 8 raid.
But why does Mr. Trump have these documents? What was his intention in taking them? What will be the political consequences in such a deeply divided country? Many questions remain.
A separate document – the Memorandum – explains the need for the affidavit transactions, stating that “disclosure of this information could seriously disadvantage the government as it seeks more information.” These concerns were particularly compelling in this case… In short, the government had clear grounds for concern that steps could be taken to frustrate or dissuade interfere with this investigation if the facts of the affidavit were revealed too soon”.
And referring to witnesses the FBI is relying on, the memo said: “If a witness’s identity is exposed, they could be harmed including retaliation, intimidation or harassment and even intimidation to their physical safety… These concerns are not hypothetical in this case.”
The affidavit of a search warrant is not evidence of a crime, but rather represents the Department of Justice’s belief that it may have been caused by the crime being committed.
Mr Trump reacted on social media, writing: “The Oath was heavily redacted!!! Nothing was mentioned about ‘Nuclear’, an FBI underground public relations total! and DOJ, or our close working relationship with regards to document circulation – WE GAVE THEM MUCH.
“Judge Bruce Reinhart should have NEVER allowed him to break into my house. He reused himself two months ago from one of my cases based on his hatred and animosity towards the General. your favorite system, me.
“What changed? Why didn’t he reuse himself in this case? Obama must be so proud of him right now!”