An expanded list of the items seized by FBI agents during their search of former President Donald Trump’s home last month shows that in addition to newspaper and magazine clippings, clothing, and gifts, boxes containing top secret and other classified documents at Mar-a-Lago also contained these items. On Friday, the list was made public.
Agents removed approximately 33 boxes containing more than 100 classified documents, according to the prosecution. The inventory showed that seven of the boxes or containers were kept in Mr. Trump’s office and the remaining items were kept in a storage area at the exclusive club.
The executive clemency order for Mr. Trump’s ally Roger Stone and details about the president of France were among the items recovered by the agents, according to a previous list from the prosecution, but the new inventory lists the quantity and kind of items that were discovered in each box.
According to the receipt, 99 newspaper and magazine clippings from 2017 and 2018 were found in one of the boxes found in Mr. Trump’s office, along with seven documents marked as top secret, fifteen documents marked as secret, 43 empty folders marked as classified, and 28 empty folders marked “Return to Staff Secretary/Military Aide.”
Five additional empty files with classified banners were found in the storage area, as per the list. It was impossible to tell if the documents that were initially kept in folders marked as classified were discovered somewhere else or were otherwise accounted for.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon granted the request for the release of the exhaustive inventory made by Mr. Trump’s legal team and the Justice Department.
The inventory indicates that the papers Mr. Trump brought with him to his Florida club appear to have been disorganized during his dramatic exit from the White House. An attorney for Mr. Trump compared the dispute over the content to one involving overdue library books during a hearing on Thursday before Judge Cannon.
The list also reveals what Justice Department officials have described as their concerns that highly sensitive information, including some obtained from covert human intelligence sources, was mingled with other items and stored in an unsafe manner. There is no description of any of the classified or other papers’ topics in the list.
According to the list, one box taken from the storage area contained two unclassified U.S. government documents or images, a book, a piece of clothing or a gift, and 68 news articles with dates between 2015 and 2017. According to the list, another contained 11 private documents, 21 classified papers, and 30 news clippings.
The inventory revealed that reams of secret government documents were also present in some of the boxes the investigators gathered. According to the document, one contained 357 such documents or images, two that were classified, and 24 media clips from 2020. 1,036 non-classified government documents were said to be contained in two additional boxes.
According to prosecutors, they are looking into potential violations of the presidential records law requiring the transfer of White House records to the National Archives as well as the Espionage Act, which governs the use of classified information.
“The new ‘detailed’ inventory list further reveals that this unprecedented and unjustified raid of President Trump’s residence was not a surgical, restricted search and retrieval, as the Biden administration claimed; rather, it was a SMASH AND GRAB,” wrote Taylor Budowich, a spokesperson for Mr. Trump, in a tweet.
According to Mr. Trump and his staff, the items were quickly packed up and moved to Mar-a-Lago at the end of his administration. Up until his resignation on January 20, 2021, Mr. Trump devoted his final months in office to overturning his electoral defeat in November 2020.
Here is a summary of what the FBI learned about Mar-a-Lago on August 8 during their investigation.
11,179 items in government documents that are not classified
52 books, clothes, and gifts
Press articles: 1,673
103 classified papers
The majority of the 90 blank folders are marked “classified.”
William Barr, who resigned from his position as attorney general in December 2020, stated that “These items were stored and handled in a haphazard manner.” “Once you’re conducting an investigation and carrying out a search warrant, you have the right to collect not only official records but other items from the same containers where you discovered the official papers that would demonstrate the context in which they were housed,” the law states.
Former CIA officer David Priess, who briefed senior officials on intelligence issues, claimed that presidential aides frequently carry classified documents in various folders to conceal their contents while moving about the White House. The empty folders found during the search do not necessarily mean that more classified documents are missing, according to Mr. Priess, author of a book on presidential intelligence briefings. He also noted that it is likely that Mr. Trump and his aides originally stored the other seized documents in those folders.
There is no proof to back up the former president’s claim that he declassified the documents before leaving office. One of his attorneys, Evan Corcoran, stated in a letter dated May 25 that a president has “unrestricted constitutional authority over the classification and declassification of records.” He made no mention of Mr. Trump using this power in connection with any documents related to Mar-a-Lago.
Additionally, Mr. Trump’s office claimed that there was a standing directive to declassify any documents he brought into the White House residence in the evening. Many administration officials, however, claim they have never heard of such an order.
Before conducting their extraordinary search, prosecutors claimed that they had tried for a year and a half to obtain the documents using less invasive methods, such as subpoenas and negotiations.
Attempts had been made to hide documents and remove them from a storage room as investigators sought their return, according to the Justice Department, which claimed to have found evidence of obstruction. The Justice Department claims that during a search of the property on August 8, agents found items outside of the storage area where Mr. Trump’s lawyers claimed they were all kept. The defense team for Mr. Trump has disputed the government’s assertions without providing any details.
In a second document dated August 30 but also unsealed on Friday, prosecutors claimed that all confiscated documents had been examined by detectives aside from any that might have been covered by the attorney-client privilege. According to the filing, investigators will use the documents as they “take additional investigative steps, including additional witness interviews and grand jury practice.”
The government’s investigation will be influenced by “all information relevant to the confiscated objects, including the type and manner in which they were maintained, as well as any evidence referring to specific papers or items of interest,” it said.
At a hearing on Thursday to determine whether to appoint a third party to examine the seized documents and determine whether executive and attorney-client privilege renders some of them inaccessible to investigators, Judge Cannon ordered the release of the two papers.
Although she has not yet made a decision, she previously stated she was prepared to do so after Mr. Trump’s legal team claimed that the way the federal government handled the investigation had damaged the public’s confidence in its objectivity and transparency. They contend that the selection of a special master to review papers will help put the case’s challenges in the proper perspective.
The Justice Department rejected the nomination due to concerns that it would prolong the investigation into Mar-handling a’s of highly classified data, despite the fact that its own staff had already stored potentially privileged information.
Jay Bratt, the case’s lead attorney for the Department of Justice, stated during the hearing on Thursday that Mr. Trump was not entitled to the appointment of a special master because the seized presidential and classified documents belonged to the United States rather than to him.