FBI List Shows Top Secret Files Were Recovered at Mar-a-Lago

Possible charges for Trump include Espionage Act violations, warrant indicates
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2022 3:23 PM CDT
FBI List Shows Top Secret Files Were Recovered at Mar-a-Lago
President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, photographed Wednesday, was searched this week by FBI agents.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

(Newser) – A list compiled by the FBI shows agents took 11 sets of classified documents from Mar-a-Lago after searching former President Donald Trump's home Monday, including some labeled top secret and sensitive. About 20 boxes were removed, reports the Wall Street Journal, whose reporters have seen the three-page list. Among the items logged were photo binders, Roger Stone's grant of clemency, and information about the "President of France." The warrant signed by a judge was included with the list, showing that agents wanted to search the estate's "45 Office" and all storage rooms where boxes of documents could be kept, in any of the buildings on the property.

Trump's lawyers say he declassified documents while he was still in office, though federal regulations require that a process be followed. "The Biden administration is in obvious damage control after their botched raid where they seized the president's picture books, a 'hand written note,' and declassified documents," said Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich. Some files were marked "Various classified/TS/SCI documents," which indicates top-secret/sensitive compartmented information. Such documents usually are to be reviewed in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility by personnel with special clearance.

The FBI documents indicate the agency is looking into whether Trump violated the Espionage Act, a review by Politico shows. Other potential charges involve removal or destruction of records and obstruction of an investigation, the warrant says, which are punishable by fines and prison terms. The Justice Department's original intent was to secure the documents after Trump failed to turn them over, per the Journal. The agency shifted to a criminal investigation when investigators grew concerned that Trump aides were being evasive about the files. (Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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