At least one attorney for former President Donald J. Trump signed a written statement in June confirming that all items marked as classified and held in boxes in a storage area at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and club have been returned to The government said four people familiar with the document.
The written announcement was made after a visit by Jay A. Pratt, a counterintelligence official in the Justice Department’s National Security Division, on June 3.
The presence of the signed ad, which has not been previously reported, is a possible indication that Mr. Trump or his team have not fully responded to federal investigators about the material. And it could help explain why a possible violation of a criminal code linked to obstruction by the department was cited as the basis for the warrant request used to carry out the Monday search for the former president’s home, an unusual move that sent political waves.
It also helps clarify the sequence of events that prompted the Justice Department’s decision to conduct the research after months of trying to resolve the matter through discussions with Mr. Trump and his team.
material inventory Trump’s home released Friday showed that FBI agents seized 11 sets of documents during the search with some sort of classified or classified marking on them, including some “classified/TS/SCI” – short for “top Fragmented confidential/sensitive information”. Information classified as such is only meant to be viewed in a secure government facility.
The search included not only the storage area where boxes of items known to the Department of Justice were held but also Mr. Trump’s office and residence. The search and inventory order disclosed on Friday did not specify where the documents marked as classified were found at the Mar-a-Lago complex.
Mr. Trump said on Friday that he declassified all the materials in his possession while he was still in office. He did not provide any documents that he had done so.
“Just like every fabricated witch hunt by Democrats, the waters of this unprecedented and unnecessary raid are being flown by media willing to deal with suggestive leaks, anonymous sources, and hard facts,” the former president’s spokesman, Taylor Bowdwich, said Saturday.
The search warrant said FBI agents were conducting the search for evidence of potential violations of the Obstruction Act as well as the Espionage Act and the law prohibiting unlawful seizure or destruction of government records or documents. No one has been charged in the case, and the search warrant on its own does not mean that anyone will be.
Last year, officials at the National Archives discovered that Mr. Trump took a large number of documents and other government materials with him when he left the White House at the end of his turbulent term in January 2021. Those materials were supposed to have been sent to the archives under Provisions of the Presidential Records Act.
More coverage of the FBI’s search for Trump’s home
Mr. Trump returned 15 boxes of items in January of this year. When archivists examined the material, they found several pages of classified-marked documents and referred the matter to the Department of Justice, which began an investigation and convened a grand jury.
In the spring, the department issued a subpoena to Mr. Trump to obtain additional documents it believed may have been in his possession. Advisers repeatedly urged the former president to return what was left despite what they described as his desire to keep some documents.
In an effort to resolve the dispute, Mr. Pratt and other officials visited Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, in early June, where they met Mr. Trump briefly while there. Two of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, M.
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The people said Mr. Corcoran and Mrs. Pope showed Mr. Pratt and his team boxes containing items Mr. Trump had taken from the White House that had been kept in a storage area.
According to two people briefed on the visit, Mr. Pratt and his team left with additional classified material, and at about that time also obtained written clearance from Trump’s lawyer confirming that all material marked in the boxes had been delivered.
Shortly after the meeting, according to people briefed on the matter, Pratt emailed Corcoran instructing him to obtain a more secure lock for the room. Mr. Trump’s team complied.
The Department of Justice also recalled surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago, including views from outside the storage room. According to a person familiar with the matter, the footage alarmed investigators about the handling of the material. It is not clear what time period the footage came from.
Two people who have been briefed on the methods in recent months said investigators have been in contact with approximately six current Trump aides who have knowledge of how the documents were handled. At least one witness provided investigators with information that led them to increase pressure on Mr. Trump to obtain the materials, according to a person familiar with the investigation.
Concern about Mr. Trump’s cavalier handling of classified information dates back to the early days of his administration. When Mr. Trump left office, President Biden quickly took an extraordinary step Prevent him from receiving intelligence It is traditionally presented to past presidents, saying Mr Trump cannot be trusted because of his “irregular behaviour”.
The security of classified information at Mar-a-Lago has also been a concern for government officials even while Mr. Trump was in office. During his presidency, the government built what is known as SCIF – a sensitive and segmented information facility – for Mr Trump’s use while he was at the club.
Expressing concern about documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago, leaders of two House committees on Saturday called D. Briefing Congress on potential harm to national security.
“Even as the Department of Justice investigation continues, ensuring that we take all necessary steps to protect classified information and mitigate the harm to national security caused by its compromise is critical,” said panel leaders, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, New York Democrat and Oversight Committee Chair, and Adam B. Schiff, the California Democrat and chair of the Intelligence Committee, wrote to Ms. Haines.
On Thursday, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland made a public statement Saying he personally authorized the decision to request a search warrant for Mr. Trump’s property, he noted that the Justice Department would have taken such a step only after trying less invasive measures.
Shortly before Mr. Garland’s announcement, a person close to Mr. Trump reached out to a Justice Department official to pass on a letter from the former president to the attorney general. Mr. Trump wanted Mr. Garland to know that he was checking people across the country and found them angry at the search.
The message Mr. Trump wanted to deliver was, “The country is on fire,” according to a person familiar with the exchange. “What can I do to reduce the heat?”
The next day, when the judge released the arrest warrant and took stock of items the FBI had taken, Mr. Trump alternately claimed he had done nothing wrong and also made an unfounded statement that officials may have planted evidence on his property during the search.
Katie Benner And the Look Broadwater Contribute to the preparation of reports.
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