US & World

More than 300 classified documents reportedly found at Mar-a-Lago as Trump calls for end to FBI probe – NBC10 Philadelphia

The US government has recovered more than 300 classified documents from Mar-a-Lago since former President Donald Trump left office, including more than 150 retrieved by the National Archives in Januarythe New York Times reported citing several sources who were briefed on the matter.

The massive amount of classified documents found at a Florida estate in the first batch of materials prompted a federal criminal investigation by the Department of Justice.

NBC News reached out to the Justice Department, the FBI and Trump’s press secretary for comment, but did not hear back.

It comes as Trump’s lawyers asked a federal judge on Monday to stop the FBI from reviewing documents found during a search of Mar-a-Lago earlier this month and to appoint a special master tasked with reviewing the documents and rejecting those covered by executive privilege. — a principle that allows presidents not to disclose certain messages.

The request was included in a federal lawsuit, the first filed by Trump’s legal team in two weeks since the search, which broadly targets the FBI’s investigation into the discovery of classified records at Mar-a-Lago and foreshadows the arguments his lawyers are expected to make in the investigation.

The lawsuit is dropped Search on August 8in which the FBI said it recovered 11 sets of classified documents from Mar-a-Lago, as a “shockingly aggressive move”. He also attacks the warrant as overly broad, argues that Trump is entitled to a more detailed description of the records seized from the home, and claims that he has long been treated “unfairly” by the FBI and the Justice Department.

“Law enforcement is the shield that protects America. They cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes,” the lawyers wrote on Monday. “Therefore, we seek injunctive relief following the unprecedented and unnecessary raid” at Mar-a-Lago.

In a separate statement, Trump said that “ALL of the documents were previously declassified” — though he provided no evidence to support that claim — and called the records “illegally seized from my home.”

The Justice Department responded in a brief three-sentence statement, noting that the search was authorized by a federal judge after the FBI presented probable cause to commit a crime.

The federal magistrate who signed off on the search reiterated earlier Monday that there is “probable cause that evidence of multiple federal crimes will be found” at the property and doubled down on his decision to authorize the search.

“Having carefully reviewed the affidavits prior to signing the warrant, I was — and remain — satisfied that the facts set forth in the affidavit are reliable,” wrote Judge Bruce Reinhart of the Southern District of Florida.

A search warrant obtained by NBC News from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home says 11 sets of classified documents, including some marked “top secret,” were removed.

Trump’s lawsuit claims that records created during Trump’s time in the White House are “presumptively privileged.” But the Supreme Court has never ruled on whether a former president can assert an executive branch right to the documents, writing in January that the issue is unprecedented and raises “serious and substantial concerns.”

The high court rejected Trump’s request to block the transfer of documents held by the National Archives to the committee on Jan. 6, saying then that his request would have been denied even if he had been a sitting president, so there was no need to deal with the difficult issue of the former president’s claims.

And while the lawsuit tries to paint Trump as “fully cooperative” and compliant with investigators, the chronology of events shows that the search came only after other options for recovering classified documents from the home were incomplete or unsuccessful. For example, in May, weeks before the search, the Justice Department issued a subpoena for classified documents.

A months-long investigation that broke into the public eye with the search of Mar-a-Lago, follows from a referral from the National Archives, which earlier this year recovered 15 boxes of documents and other items from the estate that were to be turned over to the agency when Trump left the White House. An initial review of these materials concluded that Trump brought presidential records and several other documents that had been classified as classified to Mar-a-Lago.

FBI and Justice Department officials visited Mar-a-Lago in June and asked to inspect the storage facility. A few weeks later, the Ministry of Justice subpoenaed video footage from the estate’s surveillance cameras. After the Mar-a-Lago meeting, investigators interviewed another witness who told them there were still additional classified documents at the estate, according to a person familiar with the investigation, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

A federal magistrate has ordered the Justice Department to redact portions of affidavits related to the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago search, in a possible move to make search documents public. The Justice Department has until next Thursday to submit the redactions to the court.

separately monday a federal judge ruled that the redaction of an FBI affidavit outlining the grounds for a search could be so sweeping as to render the document “meaningless” if published. But he said he still believed it should not remain closed entirely because of the “strong” public interest in the investigation.

Judge Reinhart’s written order largely echoes what he said in court last week when he ordered the Justice Department to propose redactions about information in the affidavit that he wants to keep secret. Applications must be submitted on Thursday at noon.

Representatives of the Ministry of Justice sought to keep the entire document sealed, saying that disclosing any part of it would risk jeopardizing an ongoing criminal investigation, revealing witness information and revealing investigative methods. They told the judge that the necessary redactions to the affidavit would be so numerous that they would strip the document of any material information and render it meaningless to the public.

Reinhart acknowledged that possibility in his order on Monday, writing: “At this point, I cannot say that the partial redaction will be so broad as to result in a meaningless disclosure, but I may eventually come to that conclusion after hearing further. from the government.”

Back to top button