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The FBI said it had “probable cause to believe” that additional records containing classified information, including National Defense Information, would be found on the premises of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, beyond what he had previously turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration, according to the unsealed and heavily-redacted affidavit used to justify the raid.
The affidavit was unsealed Friday, after U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart approved the DOJ’s proposed redactions to the document.
Approximately 20 pages of the 38-page affidavit were either significantly or fully redacted.
“The government is conducting a criminal investigation concerning the improper removal and storage of classified information in unauthorized spaces, as well as the unlawful concealment or removal of government records,” the affidavit states.
Trump had turned over 15 boxes to NARA in January 2022. The affidavit states that the FBI began reviewing those boxes of records in May and identified classified records in 14 of the 15 boxes.
The affidavit states that the FBI’s investigation had “established that documents bearing classification markings, which appear to contain National Defense Information (NDI), were among the materials contained” in the 15 boxes Trump initially turned over to the NARA.
“A preliminary triage of the documents with classification markings revealed the following approximate numbers: 184 unique documents bearing classification markings, including 67 documents marked as CONFIDENTIAL, 92 documents marked as SECRET, and 25 documents marked as TOP SECRET,” the affidavit states.
The affidavit also states that FBI agents observed markings “reflecting the following compartments/dissemination controls: HCS, FISA, ORCON, NOFORN, and SI,” and said that based on “training and experience,” documents “classified at these levels typically contain NDI.”
The FBI stated that they had “probable cause to believe that additional documents that contain classified NDI or that are presidential records subject to record retention requirements currently remain at the premises.”
The FBI, in its affidavit, went on to state that the materials were not being stored in a secure location at Mar-a-Lago, and said that the Justice Department notified Trump and his legal team in an email on June 8, after visiting the premises, reiterating that the storage room be further secured and that records be preserved.
“Based on the foregoing facts and circumstances, I submit that probable cause exists to believe that evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation 18 U.S.C. §§ 793(e), 2071, or 1519 will be found at the PREMISES,” the affidavit states, adding that the affidavit “supports probable cause for a warrant to search” Mar-a-Lago.
The affidavit was released to the public after Reinhart on Thursday said the government had “met its burden of showing a compelling reason” and “good cause” to keep portions of the affidavit under seal.
The Justice Department said, and Reinhart agreed, that full disclosure would reveal “the identities of witnesses, law enforcement agents, and uncharged parties,” the investigation’s “strategy, direction, scope, sources and methods” and “grand jury information” protected by federal rules.
The affidavit also references an article published by Breitbart News in May, quoting former Trump administration official Kash Patel.
Patel, in the article, said other media outlets reporting that NARA had found classified materials among records Trump turned over were “misleading” because Trump “had declassified the materials at issue.”
The next eight sections of the affidavit after the Patel reference are fully redacted.
In a statement to Fox News, Patel on Friday said the declassified material he was referring to included “information that Trump felt spoke to matters regarding everything from Russiagate to the Ukraine impeachment fiasco to major national security matters of great public importance—anything the president felt the American people had a right to know is in there and more.”
TRUMP FILES MOTION SEEKING INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF DOCS SEIZED DURING FBI RAID ON MAR-A-LAGO
Reinhart signed the FBI’s warrant for the raid on Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 5, giving the FBI authority to conduct its search–a document Reinhart unsealed, along with the property receipt from the raid earlier this month.
According to the property receipt, FBI agents took approximately 20 boxes of items from the premises, including one set of documents marked as “Various classified/TS/SCI documents,” which refers to top secret/sensitive compartmented information.
Records covered by that government classification level could potentially include human intelligence and information that, if disclosed, could jeopardize relations between the U.S. and other nations, as well as the lives of intelligence operatives abroad. However, the classification also encompasses national security information related to the daily operations of the president of the United States.
The property receipt also showed that FBI agents collected four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents and three sets of confidential documents, but the document does not reveal any details about any of those records.
DOJ ‘TAINT TEAM’ EXAMINING TRUMP MAR-A-LAGO DOCUMENTS
The government conducted the search in response to what it believed to be a violation of federal laws: 18 USC 793 — gathering, transmitting or losing defense information; 18 USC 2071 — concealment, removal or mutilation; and 18 USC 1519 — destruction, alteration or falsification of records in federal investigations.
The allegation of “gathering, transmitting or losing defense information” falls under the Espionage Act.
Former President Trump and his team are disputing the classification and say they believe the information and records to have been declassified.
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Sources familiar with the investigation told Fox News Digital that the FBI also seized boxes containing records covered by attorney-client privilege and potentially executive privilege during its raid.
Trump and his legal team have filed a motion requesting the appointment of a special master to review those records covered by attorney-client privilege.
Source URL: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/justice-department-alleges-trump-affidavit-says