- Florida federal judge releases more detailed list of documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.
- U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon questions whether a special master should review the records.
A more detailed list of documents seized from Donald Trump’s estate in Florida was released Friday by the federal judge overseeing the former president’s trial seeking a third-party special master to review the records, which FBI agents found randomly stored “top secret files” intermingled with magazines and clothing.
Besides the classified documents, the list seems to show the chaotic nature in which thousands of documents were kept.
Here is what was retrieved in the search:
- In total, the list describes 31 confidential documents, 54 “secret” and 11 “top secret” documents.
- 48 empty folders with classified banners
- 42 files bearing the mention “return to the secretary of staff/military auxiliary”
- Over 11,000 government documents or images without classification marking
- Nearly 1,673 magazines, newspapers or press clippings
- 19 clothing or gift items
- 33 pounds
The mixed contents of the 33 boxes not only highlight a potential security risk posed by the unsecured classified documents, but also underscore the chaotic nature of Trump’s exit from the White House and his desperate attempts to cling to power. , which federal and state prosecutors are examining in connection with other criminal investigations.
Around the same time the more detailed list of evidence was made public, Patrick Cipollone, a former White House attorney for Trump, arrived at the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., where he was scheduled to appear before a large court. jury investigating the attack on the Capitol. Cipollone is believed to be the highest known Trump administration official to testify so far.
Meanwhile, the thousands of unmarked government documents recovered during the Mar-a-Lago search were not specifically identified, and it was unclear whether the volume of the material would factor into the decision of the judge to appoint a special master to oversee a review of documents. .
Read the list:What did we find at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago? Read the list detailing what the FBI agents recovered.
Judge continues to weigh appointment of special master to review documents
FBI agents searched Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8 for Trump administration documents that may have provided evidence of Espionage Act violations or obstruction of justice. Trump has sued for a special master to review the documents, to potentially block the Justice Department from documents related to communications from his lawyers or administrative aides.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon released the list while deciding to appoint a special master and potentially limit the Justice Department’s access to the documents.
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FBI: search in part of the “active criminal investigation”
In a status report filed with the list of documents, prosecutors described the investigation as an “active criminal investigation.”
“It is important to note that the ‘review’ of seized documents is not a one-time investigative step but an ongoing process in this active criminal investigation,” prosecutors said. “That said, the government can confirm to the court that the investigative team has already reviewed each item seized (other than materials that remain subject to screening protocols), although its investigation and thorough review continues.”
In addition to the criminal investigation, the Justice Department said in court records that it was working with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to assess the potential national security risk posed by the discovery of the unsecured classified documents.
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Empty classified folders
Although the receipt for the newly unsealed search warrant does not contain enough information to determine what happened to the documents in the empty “classified” files recovered by the FBI, a former top information security official from the White House said the discrepancy raised serious concerns.
“It’s hard to know, but empty folders can set off alarm bells. Important decision memoranda and other documents often have to be returned by the president to the personnel secretary for distribution and action by senior aides across the board,” said Rajesh De, personnel secretary of the White House in the Obama administration who was in charge of securing classified documents and managing the paper flow to the president and senior executives.
“As for the files classified empty, one must also ask what happened to the content and if it falls into the wrong hands?” said De, a former senior Justice Department and National Security Agency official who now chairs the national security practice at law firm Mayer Brown.
Bradley Moss, a national security attorneysaid in a tweet that if empty folders were used to store classified documents, there would be documentation of who put the records in that folder and what they were.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyR-Calif., and Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter Friday to Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray calling for testimony and hearings on the search.
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Classified documents mingled with magazines, clothing, press clippings
At least seven boxes of documents, photographs and other documents were taken from the office of the former president of Mar-a-Lago and included at least 24 classified documents and a series of emptied files. Two of them were tagged with instructions to “return to military aid from the Secretary of Staff.”
The list describes 15 “secret” documents, seven “top secret” documents and 43 empty folders with “classified” banners from a box recovered from Trump’s office at Mar-a-Lago. Another secret document was found separately in “Office 45”.
The random nature of the storage was revealed in Box 10, recovered from the Mar-a-Lago storage room. The contents included 32 classified documents as well as clothing, magazine clippings, a book and a mix of 255 unidentified documents and photographs.
Thousands of photos were found in boxes in the storage room. The list also included hundreds of magazines, news articles and other documents without classified markings. Several items of clothing were recovered from the storage room.
What this evidence photo from Mar-a-Lago reveals:What the photo of Trump Mar-a-Lago shows compared to what we know about the handling of classified documents
Documents seized after Trump lawyers said in June that all records had been turned over
The trove of documents was seized after Trump’s attorneys certified in June that all documents had been turned over to federal authorities in response to a grand jury subpoena requesting any classified material remaining on the property.
Prosecutors cited the earlier certification in a scathing assessment of how the files were handled, saying the Trump team likely concealed and moved the remaining documents to obstruct the government’s investigation.
“The fact that the FBI, within hours, recovered twice as many documents with classification marks as the ‘diligent search’ that the former president’s attorney and other representatives had weeks to perform is a reminder seriously question the statements made in the June 3 certification and cast doubt on the extent of cooperation in this case,” justice officials said in court documents earlier this week.
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Read the unsealed list of documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago
Contributor: Erin Mansfield and Ella Lee