The arrest warrant used this week to search Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate suggests the former US president is under investigation for concealing evidence by withholding official classified information, including some marked “top secrets.” which were eventually recovered by FBI agents.
The document, which was unsealed by a federal judge Friday after Trump’s legal team refused to block the release, lists three federal laws Trump allegedly violated, including the Espionage Act, which prohibits the unauthorized possession of national security information that a foreign adversary might have. can help is prohibited. in harming the US
The warrant searches for “any physical documents and data constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime or other items illegally possessed” in violation of those laws.
A title deed containing all items taken from Trump’s home and political headquarters in Palm Beach, Florida, reveals that FBI agents found and removed 11 sets of documents that were marked or classified as “top secret” during Monday’s search. along with several other materials.
The document contained few details about what was recovered. Among the items not considered classified or classified were a pardon for Trump adviser Roger Stone and unspecified material related to French President Emmanuel Macron, along with handwritten notes and photo folders.
Donald Trump calls for ‘immediate’ release of search warrant in Florida
In a statement released Friday, Trump claimed that the documents seized by agents at his Florida club had been “all declassified,” and argued that he would have turned over the documents to the US Department of Justice if requested.
While incumbent presidents have the power to release information, that power expires once they leave office and it was not clear if the documents in question were ever released. Trump also retained possession of the documents despite multiple requests from agencies, including the National Archives, to transfer presidential records in accordance with federal law.
Trump’s legal team filed a notice Friday shortly before a 3 p.m. ET deadline, advising the U.S. Department of Justice that it would not object to the unsealing of the warrant, which had been requested Thursday. Trump had already publicly stated that he would allow the document, as well as a receipt of items taken Monday by FBI agents from his Florida home, to be made public.
Shortly after the Trump team’s submission, a federal judge in Florida ordered the warrant and title deed to be unsealed.
The department asked a court to deny the seal of the warrant over what Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday was “significant public interest” in the unprecedented search of the home of a former president.
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Garland and the FBI have faced significant public and political pressure to reveal more about the search, sparking speculation on both sides of the political divide and a slew of attacks from Trump’s fellow Republicans.
While warrants and other materials are usually sealed in an ongoing investigation, the move to release the documents seemed to acknowledge the vacuum created by the agencies’ silence. Republicans have raised money for the search, which comes months before the November midterm elections that will determine control of Congress.
The FBI and Justice Department have been investigating Trump’s withholding of presidential records since early this year — a federal offense if not approved by the National Archives. The National Archives had asked the department to investigate after it said 15 boxes of records it retrieved from its estate in February contained classified records, and Trump’s alleged team still hadn’t returned everything it needed. asked.
US wants to use unsealing warrant to search Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, AG . says
Monday’s search came three days after a federal judge in Florida signed the search warrant, which followed standard procedure by listing the likely cause of crimes that may have been committed by Trump and his team in preserving the material. Garland confirmed on Thursday that he had personally approved the request for the warrant, adding that he “didn’t take such a decision lightly”.
The move immediately led to condemnation of Republicans who accused Garland and President Joe Biden of arming the Justice Department to hurt Trump, who is openly considering another run for the White House in 2024 but has yet to officially announce his candidacy. .
Online death threats against Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray, FBI agents and the justice system in general increased following the search. A man was killed by police on Thursday after trying to break into an FBI field office in Ohio, although officials have not yet said whether the incident was caused by the Mar-a-Lago search.
The title deed and warrant released Friday also debunks some of the allegations made by Trump and his allies, including that his attorneys were not present during the search or did not receive copies of the warrant and title deed, as required by the law. The signature of Trump attorney Christina Bobb is present on both pages of the title deed.
With Associated Press files
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