The unsealed warrant that allowed FBI agents to execute a search of Donald Trump’s home shows the former president is being investigated for a potential violation of the Espionage Act and possible obstruction of justice, raising questions about what punishments, if any, he may face.

FBI agents found several classified documents during their search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, with some documents being considered the highest level of classification, according to the warrant. In its search, the agency recovered 11 sets of classified documents among 20 boxes that were taken, including handwritten notes, binders full of photos, and the executive grant of clemency given to Trump ally Roger Stone.


Trump has not been charged in the incident, and the investigation into the handling of White House documents is underway. However, the warrant detailed possible violations of several U.S. statutes.

Here are the violations Trump faces and the possible punishments if charged.

Espionage Act — Possible fines and up to 10 years in prison

The search warrant unsealed on Friday afternoon cited 18 U.S. Code 793, which is part of the Espionage Act, that specifically refers to the “gathering, transmitting, or losing defense information.”

If charged for that violation, Trump could face fines and up to 10 years in prison, according to the Espionage Act.

Concealment of documents — Possible fines and up to three years in prison

The warrant also pointed to 18 U.S. Code 2071 on “concealment, removal, or mutilation generally.”

The provision deems it illegal to steal government documents and makes it a crime for anyone to have any federal record in their possession with the intention to conceal or destroy it. If charged, Trump could face a fine or three years in prison.

Additionally, if found guilty, Trump could be disqualified from holding public office in the future.


Obstruction of justice — Possible fines and up to 20 years in prison

Trump also faces possible charges related to obstruction of justice based on violations of 18 U.S. Code 1519, which deals with the “destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal investigations and bankruptcy.”

The law criminalizes the destruction of federal records and carries the highest sentence of all: 20 years in prison. If found guilty, Trump could face hefty fines of up to $5,000 in addition to prison time.

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