Trump took 700 pages of classified documents to Florida

FILE - Secret Service and local law enforcement officers are seen outside former President Donald Trump's home at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., on Aug. 9, 2022.

Former US President Donald Trump left Washington with more than 700 pages of classified documents, including some containing the government’s top secrets, when his presidency ended last year, the National Archives revealed Tuesday.

The revelation came in a letter dated May 10 from acting U.S. archivist Debra Steidel Wall to one of Trump’s attorneys, Evan Corcoran, while rejecting claims by Trump representatives that the former president to keep some of the documents claiming executive privilege from his time in the White House.

Wall described the growing alarm in the Justice Department’s Homeland Security Division about the “potential harm resulting from the apparent manner in which these materials were stored and transported” to Trump’s property in Mar-a-Lago instead of being delivered. to the National Archives when his presidency ended, as required by US law.

His letter said there were “more than 100 documents with classification marks” in the 15 boxes of materials the government recovered from Mar-a-Lago in January, the first of three times this year that the FBI and US archivists have collected. boxes of classified materials. from Trump’s winter residence and private club on the Atlantic coast.

FILE – Secret Service and local law enforcement officers are seen outside former President Donald Trump’s home at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., on Aug. 9, 2022.

Trump and his aides turned over more documents in June, and then FBI agents, acting on a court-approved search warrant, recovered another two dozen boxes, including 11 boxes of classified files on August 8, while searching his office. , a storage basement. area and other rooms in the farm.

Some of the recovered documents have been classified as “TS/SCI”, which stands for “Top Secret/Confidential Compartmented Information”, or labeled “Special Access Programs”, which contain some of the government’s most closely guarded secrets and are they are supposed to be seen only in secure government facilities, not in a residence like Mar-a-Lago. In addition to being Trump’s home several months of the year, it’s a high-end nightclub and hotel for dues-paying members.

Trump has claimed that he declassified the materials before his term ended on January 20, 2021, and Joe Biden became US president, but neither Trump nor his aides have produced any documented evidence of any such declassification.

John Solomon, one of Trump’s media allies and one of the former president’s liaisons to the archives, first revealed Wall’s letter Monday night and the archives released it Tuesday.

The new revelation came as Trump’s lawyers on Monday asked a federal court to temporarily prevent the FBI from reviewing documents recovered from his Florida estate until a special master can be appointed to separate any material covered by executive privilege. and give it back.

Federal investigators are looking into whether Trump illegally kept records at Mar-a-Lago, arguing in a search warrant he used for the Aug. 8 raid that he may have violated three US laws, including the US Espionage Act.

New York Times reported Monday that overall the government has recovered more than 300 classified documents from Trump’s estate, including materials from the CIA, the National Security Agency and the FBI, though the contents of the material have not been disclosed.

Trump has criticized the proceedings, with his legal filing calling the FBI’s Aug. 8 search a “shockingly aggressive move.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland said he had authorized the search and that a federal magistrate approved it after the FBI said in an affidavit that it believed a crime may have been committed.

Trump allies have claimed he had a “standing order” to declassify material taken from the White House Oval Office, but no document has been produced to confirm this.

Following the search on August 8, some of the largest US news organizations asked US Magistrate Bruce Reinhart in Florida to release the FBI affidavit detailing probable cause for conducting the search. The Justice Department opposes the release of the document for fear it will jeopardize its investigation and release the names of cooperating witnesses.

The trial judge said he was considering releasing a redacted version of the affidavit, but acknowledged Monday that if key parts were redacted, as government prosecutors requested, its release would be virtually meaningless. He has ordered prosecutors to submit the proposed redactions by Thursday.

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