The Justice Department released a redacted affidavit on Friday, which was used to obtain a search warrant for Mar-a-Lago and revealed the nation’s top law enforcement concerns about a search of government records, including classified documents on secret intelligence sources and national defense information, as well as evidence of efforts to thwart its retrieval.
FBI Searches Former President Donald TrumpFlorida residence on August 8, and collected 11 sets of secret documents.
The Department of Justice cited “probable reason to believe that evidence of obstruction will be found at” Mar-a-Lago, although the public portions of the affidavit do not describe whether such evidence exists. what might look like. The DOJ also said it may have reason to believe that Mar-a-Lago contains “evidence, contraband, the fruit of a crime, or other illegal possessions.” The affidavit said some of this top-secret information contained intelligence gathered from “secret human sources” – material that is usually heavily guarded.
The affidavit also describes strict policies around the protection of government records – where they are required to be stored and who has access to them – and highlights relevant statutes, including Espionage Act.
As explained in The affidavit is 38 pages long, the investigation began after being referred by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), flagging that it had obtained 15 boxes — 184 unique documents, 25 of which were marked as “excellent.” confidential” —from Mar-a-Lago. “These files should have been delivered to NARA from the White House by the end of the Trump Administration in January 2021,” NARA said. speak in a statement in February.
Out of 38 pages, 21 of them are blacked out.
A letter from May 25, sent by Trump’s attorney, Evan Corcoran, asked the Department of Justice to drop a criminal investigation into classified material at Mar-a-Lago. “Public confidence in government is low. In times like these, it is essential to adhere to established rules and policies. President Donald J. Trump is a leader of the Republican Party. The Department of Justice (DOJ), which is part of the Executive Branch, is under the control of the President from the opposite party. It is important that, given that dynamic, every effort is made to ensure that actions taken by the DOJ that may involve the former President, or his close associates, are not political. “.
The letter from Corcoran also states that a president has “absolute authority” to declassify documents and that “major criminal statutes provide for the unauthorized deletion and storage of classified documents or materials. do not apply for the President. “
On June 8, the affidavit said, the DOJ sent Trump’s attorney a letter, explaining that Mar-a-Lago “does not include a secure location authorized to store classified information.” The letter then requested that the classified document be “preserved in that room in its present condition until further notice.”
The affidavit also states that some of Trump’s handwritten and press notes were mixed with government documents from the NARA cache: “What is most concerning is that top secret files have been opened. , mixed with other profiles and not recognized. [sic] determined.”
Shortly after the affidavit was released on Friday, Trump sent a 12-page filing to the judge to expand upon his request on Monday to appoint a “special expert” to oversee the review. review documents found during the Mar-a-Lago search. The previous judge gave Trump Until Friday to clearly explain why he wants a third party involved. CNN wrote: “New response seems poorly prepared [the judge] seeking,” as he did not specify the role of the special employer or any immediate action from the judge, although the judge asked to cite “the exact relief sought. “
However, Trump did refer to the recently published affidavit in his filing: “The Redacted Oath highlights why this Affidavit should be granted, as it provides virtually no information. allows Movant to understand why the raid took place or what was taken from Home.”
On Friday, President Joe Biden appeared to mock the idea Trump might simply declassify government documents, telling reporters: “Come on. Sorted everything? I won’t comment… I’ll let the Justice Department take care of that. “