The FBI claims that Donald Trump mixed top secret documents with magazines on the Florida estate

The FBI claims that Donald Trump mixed top secret documents with magazines on the Florida estate

The FBI claims that Donald Trump mixed top secret documents with magazines on the Florida estate

Fourteen of the 15 boxes recovered from former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate earlier this year contained classified documents, many of them top secret, mixed with various newspapers, magazines and personal correspondence, according to an FBI sworn statement just released.

No space on Trump’s estate in Mar-a-Lago has been cleared for the storage of classified material, according to court documents, which exposed the FBI’s rationale for the property search this month, including “probable reason to believe. that the proof of the obstruction will be found. “

The 32-page affidavit – heavily drafted to protect the safety of witnesses and law enforcement and “the integrity of ongoing investigations” – offers the most detailed description to date of government documents held in Mar-a- Lake long after Trump left the White House. It also reveals the gravity of the government’s concerns that the documents were there illegally.

The document clarifies how the haphazard keeping of top secret government records and the apparent inability to safeguard them despite months of pleading from US officials has exposed Trump to new legal risks just as he lays the groundwork for another potential presidential race in the 2024.

“The government is conducting a criminal investigation into the improper removal and storage of confidential information in unauthorized spaces, as well as the unlawful concealment or removal of government documents,” wrote an FBI agent on the front page of the affidavit.

Previously released documents show that federal agents are investigating potential violations of multiple federal laws, including one governing the collection, transmission, or loss of defense information under the Espionage Act. The other statutes concern concealment, the mutilation or removal of records and the destruction, alteration or falsification of records in federal investigations.

Trump has long insisted, despite clear evidence to the contrary, to cooperate fully with government officials. And he rallied Republicans behind him by portraying the search as a politically motivated witch hunt meant to damage his prospects for re-election. He repeated that refrain on his social media site on Friday, saying that he and his representatives had had a close working relationship with the FBI and “gave him a lot.”

His attorneys on Friday reiterated their request to appoint an independent special teacher to review documents taken from the house, saying the drafted affidavit does not provide Trump with enough information as to why the research took place or what materials they were. removed.

Jon Elswick / Associated Press

Ages from the FBI affidavit in support of obtaining a search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate were photographed on Friday, Aug.26, 2022. – Jon Elswick / Associated Press

The affidavit does not provide new details on 11 sets of classified documents recovered during the August 8 search in Mar-a-Lago, but instead concerns a separate batch of 15 boxes that the National Archives and Records Administration recovered from the house in January. . The Archives sent the matter to the Justice Department, indicating in its referral that a review showed “a lot” of classified material, the affidavit said.

The affidavit asserted to a judge that a search of Mar-a-Lago was necessary because of the highly sensitive material found in those 15 boxes. Of 184 documents with classification marks, 25 were at the top secret level, the affidavit says. Some had special markings suggesting they included information from highly sensitive human sources or the collection of electronic “signals” authorized by a special intelligence court.

And some of those confidential documents have been mixed with other documents, including newspapers, magazines and various prints, the affidavit says, citing a letter from the Archives.

Douglas London, a former senior CIA official and author of “The Recruiter,” said this demonstrates Trump’s disrespect for controls. “One of the rules of the classified is not to mix classified and unclassified, so there are no mistakes or accidents.” He said.

The affidavit shows how agents were authorized to search a large area of ​​Mar-a-Lago, including Trump’s official post-presidential “Office 45”, warehouses and any other areas where boxes could be stored. or documents. They did not propose to look for areas of the property used or rented by Mar-a-Lago members, such as private guest suites.

The FBI submitted the affidavit, or affidavit, to a judge so that he could get the warrant to search Trump’s property. Statements typically contain vital information about an investigation, with officers explaining why they want to search for a particular location and why they believe they are likely to find evidence of a potential crime there.

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