Prosecutors: Trump was holding Top Secret documents
Miami, Aug 26 (EFE).- More than two-dozen documents marked Top Secret were found in the 15 boxes former President Donald Trump handed over to the United States National Archives in January, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Friday in a redacted version of the affidavit submitted in support of the request for a warrant to search the mogul’s Florida home.
The DOJ released the affidavit in compliance with an order from federal Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who authorized the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago.
“The government has well-founded concerns that steps may be taken to frustrate or otherwise interfere with this investigation if facts in the affidavit were prematurely disclosed,” prosecutors said by way of explanation for the extensive redactions.
Passages were also blacked out to shield the reputation of potential defendants and for the protection of law enforcement personnel, the DOJ said in a court filing accompanying the redacted affidavit.
The search came in the course of an FBI probe begun in February after the National Archives made a criminal referral based on an examination of the boxes retrieved from Mar-a-Lago the previous month.
Archives staff discovered that “highly classified records were … intermixed with other records.”
“The FBI’s investigation has established that documents bearing classification markings, which appear to contain National Defense Information, were among the materials contained in the FIFTEEN BOXES and were stored at the PREMISES in an unauthorized location,” the affidavit says.
Two weeks ago, Reinhart unsealed the warrant at the request of Attorney General Merrick Garland and with the acquiescence of attorneys representing Trump, who made what he described as a “raid” public shortly after the FBI agents left Mar-a-Lago.
The warrant stated that investigators were looking for evidence of possible violations of the Espionage Act, of the destruction or concealment of documents to obstruct and investigation and of unlawful removal of government materials.
Those revelations prompted news organizations to petition Reinhart for a release of the supporting affidavit in unredacted form.
In the weeks following the search, media outlets have cited anonymous sources as saying that some of the documents found at Mar-a-Lago pertained to nuclear weapons.
While the word “nuclear” does not appear in the affidavit released Friday, DOJ expressed concern that the disclosure of some of the documents in Trump’s possession could compromise “clandestine human sources” used in intelligence gathering.
The former president was quick to respond to the release.
“Affidavit heavily redacted!!! Nothing mentioned on ‘Nuclear,’ a total public relations subterfuge by the FBI & DOJ, or our close working relationship regarding document turnover – WE GAVE THEM MUCH,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform.
“Judge Bruce Reinhart should NEVER have allowed the Break-In of my home,” the former president added in a post that included a link to audio clip in which he could be heard saying: “I did nothing wrong.”
“We were essentially attacked. We were broken into. They opened up safes, they brought safecrackers in. They brought many, many FBI agents in – all right before the midterms and all when I have the best poll numbers I’ve ever had,” Trump said. EFE lce/dr