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Late Friday, the FBI finally revealed what more than two dozen agents took from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate during a raid on Monday.
According to reports, agents recovered 11 sets of documents that were marked as classified, including some that were labeled “Top Secret.”
That said, Trump noted on his Truth Social platform on Friday that he, as president, had already declassified the documents that were confiscated by agents.
“Number one, it was all declassified. Number two, they didn’t need to “seize” anything. They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago. It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request,” the former president posted.
According to The Wall Street Journal, “The list includes references to one set of documents marked as ‘Various classified/TS/SCI documents,’ an abbreviation that refers to top-secret/sensitive compartmented information.
“It also says agents collected four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents, and three sets of confidential documents. The list didn’t provide any more details about the substance of the documents,” the Journal added.
“The warrant said investigators were seeking all records that could be evidence of violations of laws governing the gathering, transmitting or losing of classified information; the removal of official government records; and the destruction of records in a federal investigation,” the paper continued.
The report said that in all, agents removed around 20 boxes of materials.
They included “binders of photos, a handwritten note and the executive grant of clemency for Mr. Trump’s ally Roger Stone, a list of items removed from the property shows. Also included in the list was information about the ‘President of France,’” the paper continued.
“Mr. Trump’s lawyers argue that the former president used his authority to declassify the material before he left office. While a president has the power to declassify documents, there are federal regulations that lay out a process for doing so.”
According to Taylor Budowich, Trump’s spokesman, in a statement to the Journal: “The Biden administration is in obvious damage control after their botched raid where they seized the President’s picture books, a ‘handwritten note,’ and declassified documents.”
“This raid of President Trump’s home was not just unprecedented, but unnecessary,” Budowich added.
A federal judge on Friday ordered that the warrant used to search former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Florida house be unsealed.
According to Politico, Trump is being investigated for violations of the Espionage Act, a century-old law that has seldom been used to prosecute Americans:
The warrant shows federal law enforcement was investigating Trump for removal or destruction of records, obstruction of an investigation, and violating the Espionage Act. Conviction under the statutes can result in imprisonment or fines.
The documents, which are expected to be unsealed later Friday after the Justice Department sought their public disclosure amid relentless attacks by Trump and his GOP allies, underscore the extraordinary national security threat that federal investigators believed the missing documents presented. The concern grew so acute that Attorney General Merrick Garland approved the unprecedented search of Trump’s estate last week.
In 2016, then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton famously avoided charges under the same statute when then-FBI Director James Comey announced that, while she illegally possessed classified materials on her private email server, he did not believe she would be prosecuted by the Justice Department.
However, the top lawyer at the FBI at the time begged to differ.
The Hill reported in February 2019:
For most of the past three years, the FBI has tried to portray its top leadership as united behind ex-Director James Comey’s decision not to pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for transmitting classified information over her insecure, private email server.
Although in the end that may have been the case, we now are learning that Comey’s top lawyer, then-FBI General Counsel James Baker, initially believed Clinton deserved to face criminal charges, but was talked out of it “pretty late in the process.”