The federal government has collected over 300 classified documents since the beginning of the year from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, which the former president improperly removed from the White House upon his departure from office, sources told The New York Times.
The number of retrieved documents has the potential to rise, as the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) ongoing investigation suggests that it may be uncertain whether all the documents have yet been collected, or whether Trump has more that have not been turned over yet, The Times reported.
Some of the material that was retrieved include documents pertaining to the FBI, the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA),and deal with matters of national safety.
The high volume of classified information suggests that Trump allies were wrongly to downplay the significance and execution of the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago earlier this month by FBI officials. Many Republicans are still aligned with the former president have made a plethora of defenses for himAll inclusive claiming without evidence that the agency planted evidence at Trump’s home during the search, Falsely claiming that Trump created a standing orderto declassify any documents that he took. The FBI outstepped its bounds in searching for the property and should have asked for the documents in an easier way.
In fact, the evidence and events over the past year suggest that simply asking Trump to return the documents wouldn’t have worked, as federal officials have been trying to get them back for months, and only recently retrieved a larger trove of classified documents, Some may be related to nuclear weapons.
The National Archives were retrieved in January around 150 classified documents from Mar-a-LagoIn June, the DOJ issued an order to retrieve 26 additional boxes from the property. This subpoena included the following: It was ordered that any additional classified documents Trump received be immediately returnedTo the federal government
But after DOJ was informed by an informantTrump had additional documents stored away, and even more after reviewing surveillance footage at Mar-a-LagoIn August, the Justice Department filed a request to obtain a search warrant. A Florida magistrate judge approved. citing “reliable evidence” based on probable cause.
After the execution and signature of the search warrant another 20 boxes were removed from Mar-a-Lago, which includes 11 sets classified documents.
The search warrant has been made public in portions, indicating that the DOJ is investigating. Possible violations of Espionage Act — a law used to prosecute individuals who (purposely or by accident) mishandle government information to the detriment of the United States’s national security interests. The law can also be used to prosecute whistleblowers or antiwar activists.
The Times also reported that Trump himself was familiar with the material in his possession — putting to rest another excuse by his loyalists that he simply was too rushedDuring his departure from Washington, to examine the things he was taking. In late 2021, just prior to the National Archives’s retrieval of documents, Trump personally went through the boxes of classified material he had at Mar-a-LagoAccording to sources, they said so.
“I had a security clearance prior to being in Congress,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California) said. “And as a Member of Congress, I have a top secret security clearance. Let me be clear: if I went through classified documents and kept 300 of them in my home, I would be arrested immediately and indicted.”
“The quantity of classified material taken — over 300 documents per the NYTimes — should make it clear this was not simply a few trinkets to show off with friends,” chimed in journalist Steven Beschloss. “No matter how many try to say this is no big deal, we’re just at the beginning of learning how deep this crime may go.”