Documents seized by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago
Source: Ministry of Justice
FBI Agents Found Four Dozen Empty Document Folders Marked ‘CLASSIFIED’ during their raid last month of the former president donald trumpin his residence in Mar-a-Lago, a newly unsealed court record was revealed on Friday.
Officers found 43 of those marked empty files filed in Trump’s office, according to the Justice Department’s inventory of seized items filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
The remaining five empty folders with this marking were found in containers in a storage room.
The FBI also found 42 other empty folders marked “Return to Personnel/Military Secretary [sic] Help,” during the Aug. 8 raid, which was authorized to search for government documents removed from the White House when Trump left office in January 2021, the filing said.
Twenty-eight of those empty folders were found in Trump’s office, while 14 others were in a storage room elsewhere, according to the document.
And FBI agents found more than 10,000 government documents and photographs with no classification marks, according to the filing. Among these were hundreds of photos and news articles, as well as gifts, clothing and books.
The bombshell revelations raise fears that the DOJ has yet to retrieve the documents believed to have been in the empty folders.
The DOJ is investigating possible crimes related to the removal of these and other government documents from the White House when Trump left office in January 2021.
By law, these documents must be turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration.
It was signed by Miami U.S. Attorney Juan Gonzalez and Jay Bratt, the head of the Counterintelligence and Export Controls Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
“The seized documents will continue to be used to advance the government’s investigation, and the investigation team will continue to use and assess the seized documents as they take further investigation steps. ‘investigation, such as additional interviews and grand jury practice,’ the notice reads.
“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,” the document said.
Trump’s spokesperson in a series of tweets about the inventory of seized items again criticized the raid.
“The new ‘detailed’ inventory list only proves that this unprecedented and needless raid on President Trump’s home was not a surgical, contained search and recovery that the Biden administration claims, it was a SMASH AND GRAB,” spokesperson Taylor Budowich wrote.
“These document disputes must be resolved under the Presidential Records Act, which requires NARA’s cooperation and negotiation. [National Archives and Records Administration]not an armed FBI raid,” Budowich added.
Trump in a lawsuit filed in late August asked Cannon to appoint an independent watchdog, known as a special master, to examine the items seized in the search before the DOJ is allowed to continue using the documents in the investigation.
Trump’s lawyers said a special master could check whether certain documents would be barred from use in the investigation because they are protected by solicitor-client privilege or professional secrecy.
The DOJ objected to the appointment of a special mastersaying it would delay the investigation and that Trump does not own the documents.
Cannon, during a Florida court hearing on that dispute on Thursday, said she would issue a decision on Master’s special request in due course.
Cannon, a Trump appointee, previously shared his “preliminary intent” to grant Trump’s request for a special master. The judge suggested during Thursday’s hearing that she was still considering the appointment, media reported.