WASHINGTON – The FBI recovered documents that were labeled “top secret” from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, according to court papers released Friday after a federal judge unsealed the warrant that authorized the unprecedented search this week.
A property receipt unsealed by the court shows FBI agents took 11 sets of classified records from the estate during a search on Monday. The property receipt is a document prepared by federal agents to specify what was taken during a search.
The seized records include some that were marked as classified and top secret. The court records did not provide specific details about the documents or what information they might contain.
In a statement Friday, Trump claimed that the documents seized by agents at his Florida club were “all declassified,” and argued that he would have turned over the documents to the Justice Department if asked.
While incumbent presidents have the power to declassify information, that authority lapses as soon as they leave office and it was not clear if the documents in question have ever been declassified. Trump also kept possession of the documents despite multiple requests from agencies, including the National Archives, to turn over presidential records in accordance with federal law.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, the same judge who signed off on the search warrant unsealed the warrant and property receipt Friday at the request of the Justice Department after Attorney General Merrick Garland declared there was “substantial public interest in this matter,” and Trump backed the warrant’s “immediate” release. The Justice Department told the judge Friday afternoon that Trump’s lawyers did not object to the proposal to make it public.
In messages posted on his Truth Social platform, Trump wrote, “Not only will I not oppose the release of documents … I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents.”
Trump himself has been given at least some of the records the government was seeking to unseal, but he and his lawyers have declined, so far, to make them public.
Trump himself has been given at least some of the records the government was seeking to unseal, but he and his lawyers have declined, so far, to make them public.[ad_2]