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Home LATEST NEWS Trump brought 'national defense information' to Mar-a-Lago, says affidavit

Trump brought ‘national defense information’ to Mar-a-Lago, says affidavit

Former President Donald Trump brought highly sensitive

Former President Donald Trump brought highly sensitive “national defense information” to his Mar-a-Lago resort, according to the affidavit. File photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump brought highly sensitive “national defense information” to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, according to a redacted affidavit released by the Justice Department on Friday.

The filing says officials had reason to believe that Trump did not turn over all the government records he took with him from the White House in early 2021, and that the files were stored in locations not formally approved to hold classified documents.

“Based on this investigation, I believe the STORAGE ROOM, [the former president’s] residential suite, Pine Hall, ‘Office 45’ and other spaces within [Mar-a-Lago] are not currently authorized places for the storage of classified information or [National Defense Information]”, states the affidavit of an unidentified FBI special agent.

A screenshot of the affidavit saying the national defense information was stored at Trump's Mar-a-Lago property.

A screenshot of the affidavit saying the national defense information was stored at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property.

The heavily redacted document sets out the justification for the FBI’s controversial search of Trump’s property earlier this month. No criminal charges have yet been filed against Trump, but the FBI has said it is investigating possible crimes with serious penalties, including the Espionage Act.

The FBI investigation began with a referral from the National Archives and Records Administration, or NARA, in February 2021 over concerns that Trump had taken “highly classified documents intermingled with other records” from the White House to Mar-a- Lake. A heavily redacted portion of the affidavit cites a CBS Miami article titled “Moving Trucks Spotted at Mar-a-Lago,” published a month earlier, under a headline about how movers could be seen handling boxes of records at Trump’s club after he left office. .

From May to December 2021, the FBI says, Trump was repeatedly asked by NARA to turn over records he was not supposed to have. Finally, in December, Trump representatives reported that “twelve boxes were found and ready for recovery.” The FBI proceeded to examine the material, which amounted to 15 boxes in all.

In May 2022, the FBI conducted a preliminary review of the contents of the 15 boxes and found more than 100 documents marked classified, according to the affidavit.

The boxes contained “184 unique documents with classification marks, including 67 documents marked CONFIDENTIAL, 92 documents marked SECRET, and 25 documents marked TOP SECRET.”

Some included markings indicating sensitive information derived from human intelligence sources. Other files were marked with the acronym “FISA,” which refers to surveillance intelligence collected under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

On June 8, according to the affidavit, the Justice Department sent Trump a letter reiterating that classified information could not be stored at Mar-a-Lago.

“It appears that from the time the classified documents were removed from the White House secure facility and moved to Mar-a-Lago on or around January 20, 2021, they have not been properly handled or stored in an appropriate place. ”, the letter said.

“Accordingly, we ask that the room at Mar-a-Lago where the documents were stored be secured and that all boxes that were moved from the White House to Mar-a-Lago (along with any other items in that room) be keep in that room in its present state,” the letter said.

The DOJ also refers claims by former Trump administration official Kash Patel, who has stated that the former president “declassified the materials in question.” The rebuttal to that claim is redacted, but experts have questioned whether a blanket declassification order is even legal, while other former White House officials have He flatly said that it did not exist.

The much-anticipated release of the affidavit follows weeks of high-profile legal drama at Trumpworld. In addition to the Espionage Act, the FBI has indicated that it is investigating possible obstruction of an investigation and removal or destruction of records.

Trump and his allies criticized the FBI and the Justice Department for conducting the search for Mar-a-Lago and issued warnings of possible retaliation when Republicans return to power.

The Justice Department initially resisted releasing any part of the affidavit, arguing that to protect the integrity of the investigation, the document would have to be so heavily redacted as to render the content incomprehensible.

But Judge Bruce Reinhart, the South Florida magistrate who approved the subpoena for the FBI’s search and has continued to oversee legal disputes over further disclosure of information, said a redacted version must be released. The Justice Department proposed edits that he said would protect cooperating witnesses and the future of the investigation, and the judge approved the document’s release Thursday.

In a memorandum filed with the affidavitfederal prosecutors told the court that some materials “must remain sealed to protect the safety and privacy of a significant number of civilian witnesses, in addition to law enforcement personnel.”

Prosecutors also noted an “increase in specific threats of violence to identified FBI agents, general violent threats to FBI personnel, and the gun attack on the Cincinnati FBI office,” which led to the death of a gunman after a hour-long standoff with the police. The shooter in Cincinnati was active on Trump’s social network and had posted a “call to arms” threatening to attack the FBI following the search for Mar-a-Lago.

The full, unredacted affidavit would reveal confidential details about the Justice Department’s unprecedented decision to search Trump’s compound.

Trump allies demanded to see the full affidavit justifying the search, arguing the document could show the feds didn’t have a good reason to search his property.

To follow Greg Walters other Keegan Hamilton On twitter.

To follow Greg Walters other Keegan Hamilton On twitter.


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