Details in the affidavit and related memo, nearly three weeks after the August 8 search, underscore the high stakes and unprecedented nature of the ongoing criminal investigation into whether Trump and his collaborators took government documents. reserved and refused to return all items. – even in the face of repeated requests from senior law enforcement officials.
Some of the confidential documents returned to the national archives by Mar-a-Lago in January may have revealed sensitive details about how human intelligence sources or spy agencies intercept electronic communications if they fall into the wrong hands, the affidavit suggests. Foreign destinations.
“There are likely reasons to believe that evidence of the obstruction will be uncovered,” the affidavit said.
Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhardt read the affidavit and consented to the search on August 5. Three days later, Polos and khaki-clad FBI agents executed a search warrant on a Palm Beach estate and took 20 boxes of items. bedroom, office and a storage room on the first floor, according to a list of items recovered from the property made public earlier this month.
The inventory said the boxes contained 11 sets of classified documents.
The warrant authorizing the search stated that the agents were looking for all “documents and physical documents” containing evidence, contraband, crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation of three potential crimes, including part of the espionage law. Losing national security information. The mandate also covers the destruction of documents and the concealment or destruction of government property.
from 38 pages in affidavit, about half are fully or largely drafted. After the document was opened, Trump spokesman Taylor Pudovich said in a statement, “This is a huge parody and the unedited one further supports President Trump’s position that there is no reason to test – it’s all. politics!”
Affidavits are detailed documents about an investigation. The affidavit usually contains key information about witnesses, why officers believe evidence of a crime may be found on a particular property or device, and the investigative measures taken prior to the search.
It is unusual for the details of such an affidavit to be made public, especially in an ongoing trial. But several media organizations and other parties have called for the document to be sealed, citing the extreme public interest in the case involving the former president, who could reapply in 2024.
Reinhardt granted the request to cancel the affidavit, but allowed the Justice Department to propose the drafting of information that government officials said would affect the investigation or protection of witnesses.
After examining the contents of 15 boxes Trump returned to the National Archives earlier this year and finding documents with a classified identification, federal agents asked for permission to conduct the search. Some are marked “HCS”, a category of highly classified government information; Foreign intelligence surveillance cannot be shared with other court-related foreign countries. The acronym “HCS” stands for “HUMINT Control Systems” and refers to government systems used to protect intelligence gathered from secret human sources, the affidavit says.
In total, those boxes contained 184 individual documents with classified markings, according to the affidavit. Some of the documents appear to contain handwritten notes by Trump. Twenty-five of them were marked Top Secret, while 92 were marked in the lower classification of “Secrets”; 67 have been marked as “confidential”, the lowest rating level.
The affidavit also includes a May 25 letter from Trump’s attorney Evan Corcoran to the Justice Department defending the president’s conduct by claiming that Trump has the ultimate classification authority within the government. In the letter, Corcoran insisted his client cooperated with the investigation and complained about the leaks. Corcoran said that impeaching Trump’s conduct on confidential documents “implies serious problems of constitutional separation of powers.” The lawyer asked that any question to a judge or grand jury regarding the investigation include a letter in defense of Trump.
A separate, partially redacted document, also unsealed on Friday, details prosecutors’ reasoning for concealing significant portions of the affidavit and shows that numerous people have informed the FBI of confidential documents held in Mar-a-Lago. .
“In addition to law enforcement personnel, sworn statement reviews are needed to protect the safety and privacy of a significant number of public witnesses, to protect the integrity of ongoing investigations and to avoid grand jury exposure,” states the note. Meaning.”
The research has intensified Trump’s long-standing hostility towards the Justice Department and the FBI. E-mails, documents and interviews prove it For several months, the former president has been at loggerheads Law enforcement agency on the custody of documents protected under the Presidential Records Act – National Archives and Records Administration.
Some of the material recovered during the search is considered extraordinarily sensitive, two people familiar with the search said, and could reveal carefully guarded secrets about US intelligence-gathering methods. One said that information was “one of the most important secrets we have”.
Like other research respondents, the two spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details that have not been made public.
This is a growing story. It will be updated.