According to the Wall Street Journal, the FBI confiscated 11 sets of classified documents and removed 20 boxes of items. Four sets of documents are said to have been marked “top secret,” but there is still no confirmation of the allegations made in the Washington Post earlier today suggesting that Trump possessed sensitive documents pertaining to nuclear bombs.
Another three sets of documents were allegedly marked “secret,” and there was a handful marked “confidential.”
Trump’s lawyers suggested that he used his authority to declassify the material prior to leaving the White House. The Wall Street Journal noted that a president does, in fact, wield the power to declassify documents, but added that there is a federally-regulated process for doing so.
Trump took to TruthSocial to address the matter of possessing allegedly classified documents: “Number one, it was all declassified. Number two, they didn’t need to ‘seize’ anything. They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago.”
The former president again contrasted his treatment with that of another former president: “What are they going to do with the 33 million pages of documents, many of which are classified, that President Obama took to Chicago?”
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) immediately responded to former President Trump’s remarks, suggesting it had resumed custody of the documents that Obama was said to have taken.
The Obama administration, which spent $36.2 million on legal costs in a single year in an effort to avoid turning over federal records under the Freedom of Information Act, allegedly made the bulk of its records available as recently as January 20 of this year.
Among the items the FBI took from Trump’s residence were:
- a binder of photos;
- “Info re: President of France”;
- Leather-bound box of documents;
- “Potential Presidential Record”;
- a handwritten note; and
- the executive grant of clemency for Roger Stone, whose house was similarly raided by the FBI.
The search and seizure warrant that Attorney General Merrick Garland greenlit and U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart signed reportedly authorized FBI agents to search “the 45 Office” along with “all storage rooms and all other rooms or areas within the premises used or available to be used by [the former president] and his staff and in which boxes or documents could be stored, including all structures or buildings on the estate.”
Politico reported that the FBI is investigating Trump for a potential violation of the Espionage Act. The warrant indicates further that federal law enforcement is investigating the former president for concealment, removal or mutilation; for gathering, transmitting or losing defense information; and for destruction, alteration or falsification of records in federal investigations.
The affidavit in support of the search warrant remains under seal. Missing from the warrant application, but found in the affidavit, would be: the basis provided for believing that classified documents resided at Mar-a-Lago, any information gathered through surveillance or informants, and the assertion of probable cause.
Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich said that the FBI’s raid was “not just unprecedented, but unnecessary — and now they are leaking lies and innuendos to try to explain away the weaponization of government against their dominant political opponent.”