According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, FBI agents participating in the raid of former President Donald Trump’s southern Florida property known as Mar-a-Lago earlier this week recovered a wide variety of classified documents.
The report identifies “11 sets of classified documents, including some marked as top secret and meant to be only available in special government facilities.” Overall, agents gathered around 20 boxes of items. The collection of items taken from the property also included photographs, a handwritten note, and the executive grant of clemency for longtime Trump ally Roger Stone, according to presently available info. Then-President Trump issued that grant in the final stages of his tenure. Info about the French president was also recovered from the property, although the precise nature of that information is unconfirmed. A previous report from The Washington Post revealing federal agents were after nuclear documents Trump was suspected of potentially harboring at the property noted it was unclear whether the documents related to weapons held by the U.S. or another country.
Previously, signals intelligence — meaning intercepted electronic communications — was among the 15 boxes of Trump administration records recovered from Mar-a-Lago in January. Classified information was also found among those records, according to the National Archives, and that U.S. record-keeping agency referred the matter to the Justice Department for further investigation. The department started a grand jury investigation into the situation, which — through a months-long course of interactions with the Trump team that evidently included another recovery of classified documents from Mar-a-Lago back in June — led to the FBI raid earlier this week. The June circumstances involved a group of high-ranking Justice Department officials showing up at Mar-a-Lago, where Trump briefly met them and the team was delivered government documents from Trump’s lawyers.
The Wall Street Journal evidently obtained access to the official list of items taken from Trump’s property earlier this week. The list outlines a total of eleven sets of highly sensitive government documents of a variety of specific descriptions. That list includes one set of “Various classified/TS/SCI documents,” four sets of top secret documents, three collections of secret documents, and three groupings of confidential documents. “TS” refers to “top secret,” and “SCI” refers to “sensitive compartmented information.” The argument’s emerged from Trump’s corner that docs taken to Mar-a-Lago at the close of Trump’s presidency were declassified, something Trump would’ve had the power to do as president, but the Journal notes he can’t just wave a magic wand to make it happen. There’s a specific, legal process for declassification. With Trump’s apparent difficulty reconciling his impressions of what he’s doing and required legal processes, it’s unclear the required declassification steps were launched.
The warrant, which the Journal also accessed, indicates agents at Mar-a-Lago this week restricted their search to areas used by the former president. Guest rooms at the resort weren’t included among locations to examine. According to the Journal, Trump’s team currently doesn’t possess the affidavit outlining arguments establishing the background for the search. Reporting from Fox journalist Jacqui Heinrich suggests circumstances point to a Secret Service agent helping authorities make the required finding of probable cause before conducting the search. As she reported from a law enforcement source, authorities would’ve needed an establishment that a specifically sought item “is at that specific location at that precise moment,” and where else would authorities have obtained on-the-ground info about docs at Trump’s property? From the GOP sycophants often circling him? Wiretapping was also theoretically possible, but there’s no indication of it.