FBI Removed Classified Documents In Search Of Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Property — Update

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SECOND, Friday PM: A magistrate judge has just ordered that the FBI search warrant of Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago property be unsealed.

The documents — read them here — include the search warrant and a property receipt of what was taken from the property.

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The property receipt confirms reports that federal agents seized classified, top secret and secret documents. Also removed: Trump’s executive grant of clemency for Roger Stone. Another entry of items was labeled “Info; re President of France.” Christina Bobb, Trump’s attorney and a former One America News Network personality, signed the receipt at 6:19 PM on Monday, according to the document.

The warrant, signed by Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart last Friday, called for seizing “all physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 793, 2071 , or 1519.” Those pertain to statutes prohibiting concealment, removal or mutilation; gathering, transmitting or losing defense information; and destruction, alteration or falsification of records in federal investigations.

UPDATE, Friday PM: The FBI removed 11 sets of classified documents from its search of Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago estate, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing their review of the search warrant and other materials.

Fox News and Breitbart also reported on the contents of the search warrant, and NBC News later obtained the documents.

According to the Journal, agents collected documents marked as “Various classified/TS/SCI documents,” referring to top secret and sensitive compartmentalized information. The list of removed items included four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents, and three sets of confidential documents.

A federal magistrate judge has yet to grant the Justice Department’s request to unseal the search warrant, but the early leak of the information appeared to be an effort at damage control by Trump’s team.

According to NBC News, the warrant cites potential violation of three criminal statutes: 18 USC 2071 — concealment, removal or mutilation; 18 USC 793 — gathering, transmitting or losing defense information; and 18 USC 1519 — destruction, alteration or falsification of records in federal investigations.

As the news of the search warrant filtered out, Trump wrote on Truth Social, his social media platform, “Number one, it was all declassified. Number two, they didn’t need to “seize” anything. They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago. It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request. They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago. ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK. The bigger problem is, what are they going to do with the 33 million pages of documents, many of which are classified, that President Obama took to Chicago?”

The National Archives quickly responded to Trump’s claim that his predecessor also took classified documents. “NARA maintains the classified Obama Presidential records at a NARA facility in the Washington, DC area. As required by the [Presidential Records Act], former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores the presidential records of his administration.”

PREVIOUSLY, Friday AM: Donald Trump said that he would not oppose the release of documents related to the FBI’s search of his Mar-A-Lago property this week.

He wrote on Truth Social, his social media platform, “Not only will I not oppose the release of documents related to the unAmerican, unwarranted, and unnecessary raid and break-in of my home in Palm Beach, Florida, Mar-a-Lago, I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents, even though they have been drawn up by radical left Democrats and possible future political opponents, who have a strong and powerful vested interest in attacking me, much as they have done for the last 6 years.”

The FBI served a court-approved search warrant on his property on Monday, reportedly after initially seeking the documents via a subpoena.

Trump also called The Washington Post report that the FBI was seeking documents relating to nuclear weapons a “hoax,” while again suggesting, without evidence, that agents planted information.

PREVIOUSLY: The latest bombshell over the FBI’s search at Mar-A-Lago came from The Washington Post, which on Thursday reported that the FBI searched Donald Trump’s home for documents relating to nuclear weapons.

Citing unnamed sources familiar with the investigation, the Post reported that there was deep concern about such information falling into the wrong hands.

Earlier on Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department had filed a motion to have the search warrant unsealed. Trump’s team has not said whether they will support or oppose such a move.

The Post story quickly dominated cable news shows on CNN and MSNBC, as pundits weighed the potential national security implications, of far greater importance than a bureaucratic tussle over missing records.

PREVIOUSLY: Attorney General Merrick Garland told reporters on Thursday that the Justice Department has filed a motion to unseal portions of the search warrant used in Monday’s FBI action at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago property.

In the motion — which you can read here — prosecutors write that “the public’s clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred under these circumstances weighs heavily in favor of unsealing. That said, the former president should have an opportunity to respond to this motion and lodge objections, including with regards to any ‘legitimate privacy interests’ or the potential for other ‘injury’ if these materials are made public.” It now will be up to Trump’s legal team to respond.

He said that the department filed the motion “in light of the former president’s public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances and the substantial public interest in this matter.”

In his first public comments on the search, an action that triggered a fierce condemnation from Trump and his allies, Garland said that he personally approved the warrant.

“The department does not take such a decision lightly. Where possible, it is standard practice to seek less intrusive means as an alternative to a search, and to narrowly scope any search that is undertaken,” Garland said.

Trump said on Monday evening that the FBI “raided” Mar-A-Lago, quickly triggering his supporters and lawmakers to claim that he was being unfairly treated and to lob unfounded accusations against the government, even though the full details of the incident are not yet known.

Trump’s attorneys have since indicated FBI conducted the search for potential government documents, perhaps including classified material. The former president and his team reportedly have been engaged in a legal tussle over documents that should have been turned over to the National Archives when Trump left office. The New York Times reported on Thursday that the Justice Department had suspected that Trump did not turn over all of the documents, and that federal prosecutors previously sought to obtain the documents through a subpoena.

Judicial Watch and the Times Union in Albany, NY already have filed motions to unseal the subpoena. After the government’s motion, Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart ordered that the DOJ filed a “certificate of conferral” by 3 PM ET on Friday on whether Trump opposes the motion to unseal.

Garland also pushed back at attacks on the DOJ and the FBI agents and prosecutors, something that has raised concerns of political violence.

“I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked,” Garland said. “The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated, patriotic public servants. They protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism and other threats to their safety while safeguarding our civil rights. They do so at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves. I am honored to work alongside them.”

On Monday evening, shortly after the news of the search, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) blasted Garland himself and said that the DOJ “has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization.” He warned that when Republicans take back the House, they will “leave no stone unturned” in their oversight of the DOJ and that Garland should “preserve your documents and clear your calendar.”

Trump, his allies and Fox News’ Jesse Watters also have suggested or claimed that the FBI was planting evidence during the search, whipping up supporters into anger even though they have offered no basis for their claim. Earlier this week, Watters said, “What the FBI is probably doing is planting evidence, which is what they did during the Russia hoax.” He did back up his suspicion over the Mar-A-Lago search with any sourcing, but said that he had a “hunch” that the law enforcement agency “doctored evidence to get the warrant.”

On Fox News on Thursday, following a report on a gunman showing up at the FBI headquarters in Ohio, Geraldo Rivera said that “this really visceral hatred directed at the FBI by people who believe they are supporting the former president is really, really, very, very dangerous.”

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