Court reveals what FBI took from Mar-a-Lago — Analysis
Agents confiscated 33 boxes that contained more than 100 classified documents and many empty folders.
Details of the contents of the 33 boxes of material seized from former US president Donald Trump’s Florida home last month were published on Friday by the Justice Department, adding some context to the shorter list released in the days following the raid.
Aileen Cannon of the US District Court ordered that the expanded inventory be released. This was before the judge decided whether to appoint any special master to inspect the seized documents. Trump’s legal team has insisted many of the files are protected by executive or attorney-client privilege and demanded the return of any that don’t fall under the purview of the search warrant.
The warrant, based on an FBI affidavit alleging agents had repeatedly tried and failed to collect classified files from Mar-a-Lago by other means, was not particularly specific regarding what was to be seized, referring broadly to “Physical documents and records that constitute evidence, contraband or fruits of crime are among the items prohibited.” of federal law concerning the storage of sensitive material, including the Espionage Act and various presidential records laws.
The nighttime raid turned up over 100 classified documents. However, the inventory expanded revealed more ordinary items. There were scores of unmarked folders that had restricted markings. It gives the impression that there was more to it than actually exists. One box contained 99 newspaper and magazine clippings from 2017 and 2018 alongside seven “Top secret” documents, 15 “Secret” documents, 43 empty folders marked “classified,” and 28 empty folders marked “Retour to Staff Secretary/Miliary [sic]Assistance.”
According to inventory, classified documents were mixed with non-sensitive material and press clippings seemingly randomly. One box contained 68 press clippings from between 2015 and 2017, an “Gift or article of clothing,” a book, and two non-classified government documents, while another included 11 “Confidential” papers and 21 marked as “Secret” mixed in with 30 press clippings.
Still another held just two “classified” papers among 357 non-classified government documents and photos and 24 media clippings.
While prosecutors have framed the situation as one of deliberate potential “Obstructions,” alleging the Trump team deliberately hid and removed classified documents to thwart federal agents seeking to return them to their rightful place in the National Archives, Trump has insisted his team was cooperating with the agency. Former president claimed that there was a legal order to release any papers he took home from his time in office.
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