By order of a federal judge, the Justice Department on Friday released a heavily redacted copy of the affidavit used to justify the search of Mar-a-Lago earlier this month.
Key details of the document have been redacted to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation. This includes the identities of “a significant number of civilian witnesses”, law enforcement officers and unindicted parties, other information that could be used to infer strategy, focus and scope of the investigation, and information about the federal grand jury investigating Trump’s potential mishandling of classifieds. documents.
Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart described the redactions as ‘narrowly tailored to serve the government’s legitimate interest in the integrity of the ongoing investigation’ and ultimately dismissed prosecutors’ arguments that the entire document should remain sealed .
The Aug. 8 search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida club recovered hundreds of documents from his time in the White House, some of which were marked “top secret/sensitive information” – the highest filing high in the country.
Mar-a-Lago is a remarkably insecure environment for storing such documents.
The alarming scope of the documents – some reportedly relate to nuclear weapons – could potentially see Trump charged with violating the Espionage Act, obstructing justice and suppressing or destroying documents.
Here are the biggest takeaways alleged in the affidavit:
Trump had all kinds of very sensitive national defense documents.
The affidavit appears to support Washington Post reports that the documents found at Mar-a-Lago were highly classified, with some related to nuclear weapons.
He also alludes to other information in Trump’s possession. According to the affidavit, 14 of the 15 boxes Trump handed over under subpoena in January contained classified documents, some of which could endanger “clandestine human sources.”
Trump also had documents covered by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, documents marked “Not Released to Foreign Nationals/Governments/U.S. Citizens” and “Author Controlled” information that prohibits dissemination unless authorized. be approved by the original author.
Highly classified information was stored haphazardly, at best.
According to the affidavit, when the National Archives recovered a partial set of the missing documents, they found “highly classified documents [that] have been downgraded, mixed with other documents and otherwise inappropriately [sic] identified.”
In a separate section, a letter sent by the Justice Department to Trump’s legal counsel in June reiterated concerns about Mar-a-Lago himself: “Since the classified documents [redacted] were removed from White House secure facilities and transferred to Mar-a-Lago, they were not handled appropriately or stored in an appropriate location.
Trump had blocked the National Archives since May 2021.
Trump turned over 15 boxes of material to the National Archives in January, which he used to present himself as cooperating in the case. But the affidavit brings that defense to its knees, noting that the archives had been requesting the material since early May 2021.
And as research earlier this month showed very clearly, Trump kept highly sensitive documents even after claiming they were all dumped in January – and even when his legal representatives officially said they had been returned.