Court Unseals Trump Mar-a-Lago Search Warrant
A federal court on Friday unsealed the warrant used in the recent search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, days after federal agents conducted an hours-long search of the property on Monday.
The warrant showed the FBI had recovered documents labeled “top secret” from Trump’s residence and showed agents were investigating potential violations of three different federal statutes, including one under the Espionage Act.
The warrant states that “all physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, proceeds of crime, or other items unlawfully possessed in violation of” three criminal statutes: 18 U.S. Code § 793 – a subsection of the Espionage Act relating to the collection, transmission or loss of defense information; 18 US Code § 2071 – regarding concealment, deletion or mutilation of government records; and 18 US Code § 1519 – destroying, altering, or falsifying documents in federal investigations and bankruptcy.
The warrant was signed by Trump’s attorney, Christina Bobb, and dated Aug. 5, three days before the search was executed. Officers were authorized to search “Office 45”, all storage rooms and all other rooms or areas of the premises used or available for use by the FPOTUS [the former President of the United States] and its staff and in which boxes or documents could be stored, including any structures or buildings on the estate,” according to court documents.
The property receipt, a list of items FBI agents took from the Palm Beach, Florida estate, was also unsealed Friday.
The property receipt indicates that federal authorities removed 11 sets of classified documents, including some labeled “top secret/SCI,” one of the highest classification levels.
The U.S. government classifies high-level information into these three categories — top secret, secret, and confidential — which relate to the likelihood that disclosure of documents labeled as such could endanger national security. Top secret documents are of the highest classification, because “unauthorized disclosure […] it could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security” of the United States.
Other content recovered from the former president’s home included an article titled “Executive Grant of Clemency re: Roger Jason Stone, Jr.”, a longtime personal friend of Trump and seasoned Republican political consultant, as well as a another article titled “Info re: President of France.”
“Mr. Stone has no knowledge of the facts surrounding his clemency papers listed on the inventory of items seized from former President Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago,” a spokesperson for Stone told CNN. .
In total, the documents list 39 items taken from the nearly 58-room property, including at least two labeled “photo binder”, one listed as “potential presidential file”, a handwritten note and various items listed. as confidential, top secret or secret.
Hours before the documents were unsealed, the Wall Street Journal reported that federal agents recovered nearly a dozen boxes of classified documents — some of which contained alleged top-secret information — along with filing cabinets, at least one handwritten note and other boxes of residence items. A Washington Post report late Thursday said that among the items FBI agents were looking for were classified documents related to nuclear weapons, citing sources familiar with the investigation.
The search warrant was unsealed after Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Thursday that the Justice Department would take steps to clear the documents for release, citing “substantial public interest”.
Trump’s legal team had until 3 p.m. EST Friday to respond and say whether the former president opposed the motion to unseal the documents — but Trump, in a message shared with Truth Social, said that he would not block the movement and called on authorities to “release the documents now!”
Ahead of publication on Friday, Trump issued a statement baselessly claiming that the material was “all declassified” and that federal agents “didn’t need to ‘seize’ anything” and that “they could have have when they wanted without playing”. politics and the break-in at Mar-a-Lago.”
Trump also repeated a false claim that former President Barack Obama took millions of documents, some unclassified, with him to Chicago, which the National Archives and Records Administration debunked in a statement to Spectrum News. Friday.
The agency said it “assumed legal and physical custody of Obama’s presidential records” when he left office in 2017, “in accordance with the Presidential Records Act.” The National Archives has moved “30 million pages of unclassified records” to one of its facilities in the Chicago area, while classified records are stored at a NARA facility in the Washington, DC area.
“As required by the PRA, former President Obama has no control over where or how NARA stores his administration’s presidential records,” the statement concluded.
This is a developing story. Please check for updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Read the unsealed search warrant below: