(The Hill) – Former President Trump has kept more than 300 classified documents since leaving office, half of which were recovered in January by the National Archives, which alerted the Department of Justice in what eventually led to the FBI’s search of his mar-a-Lago property.
The New York Times reported Monday, citing multiple sources who have been briefed on the matter, that the sheer volume of classified documents recovered by the government is what sparked a federal criminal investigation into the former president.
The National Archives recovered 150 classified documents in January while another set, which was also at Mar-a-Lago, was turned over to the Justice Department in June by Trump aides. Additional classified documents were later recovered during the FBI’s search earlier this month, totaling 300 such documents in total, according to the Times.
Some of the 15 boxes turned over to the Archives earlier this year included documents from the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency involving national security, according to an informed person, the Times reported.
Two days after the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago, the Washington Post reported that some of the documents recovered in that search were related to nuclear weapons.
The Times also reported on Monday that authorities were looking for surveillance video of Mar-a-Lago before the Aug. 8 raid in a bid to find out how some of the documents were handled there.
An unsealed warrant executed at Mar-a-Lago made public days after the search revealed that federal authorities were investigating Trump for possible violations of the Espionage Act, among other laws. A receipt for ownership of the items seized by the FBI shows authorities have recovered a trove of documents, including 11 sets of classified documents, some of which were classified as top secret.
Trump insisted on declassifying documents obtained by the FBI, but it’s possible he did so without following proper protocols.
Trump and the National Archives have been at odds since he left office in 2021 after the agency determined Trump was in possession of White House documents that should have been turned over to the government at the end of his term.
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