The title deed, also released Friday, for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home shows that some of the recovered materials were marked “top secret/SCI” – one of the highest levels of classification.
The search warrant identifies three federal crimes that the Department of Justice is investigating as part of its investigation: Espionage Act violations, obstruction of justice and criminal handling of government documents. The recording of the crimes indicates that the Justice Department has likely reasons to investigate those offenses as it gathered evidence during the search. No one has been charged with a crime at this time.
Officers also took four sets of “top secret” documents, three sets of “secret” documents and three sets of “confidential” documents, court documents show. In all, the unsealed warrant shows that the FBI has collected more than 20 boxes, as well as folders containing photographs, sets of classified government materials, and at least one handwritten note.
The warrant, which was unsealed and released publicly on the orders of a federal judge, was obtained by CNN before it was released. This moment marks an unprecedented week that began the search – a move to gather evidence in a national security investigation.
Search warrant reveals new details on FBI investigation scope
While details on the documents themselves remain scarce, the laws cited in the warrant offer new insight into what the FBI was looking for when it searched Trump’s home, an unprecedented move that has sparked a storm of criticism from closest allies. of the former president.
The laws cover “destroying or concealing documents to hinder government investigations” and the unlawful removal of government documents, according to the search warrant released Friday.
One of the laws mentioned is one known as the Espionage Act, which deals with “requesting, storing or transmitting national defense information or classified material”.
All three criminal laws cited in the arrest warrant are from Title 18 of the United States Code. None of them depend solely on whether information was considered unclassified.
One of the less sensitive items removed from Trump’s resort, according to a title deed, was a pardon document from Roger Stone, a close Trump ally who was convicted in 2019 of lying to Congress during his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. (Trump forgave Stone before leaving office, protecting Stone from a three-year prison term.)
It is unclear how the Stone-related document seized during the search relates to the wider criminal investigation into Trump’s possible mishandling of classified material.
During the search, FBI agents also found material about the “president of France,” according to the receipt. The French embassy in Washington declined to comment on the development on Friday.
FBI agents searched ’45 Office’ in Mar-a-Lago
The court documents released Friday also provide new details about the search itself, revealing that FBI agents were only allowed access to specific locations in Mar-a-Lago as they scoured Trump’s residence looking for possible evidence of crimes.
The judge authorized the FBI to search for what the agency called the “45 Office,” a clear reference to Trump’s place in history as the 45th president. Agents were also allowed to search “any other rooms or areas” in Mar-a-Lago that were available to Trump and his staff to store boxes and documents.
“The locations to be searched include the ’45 Office’, any storage areas and any other rooms or areas within the property that are used or available for use by FPOTUS and its staff and that may contain boxes or documents, including any structures or buildings on the estate,” the warrant says, using the acronym “FPOTUS” to refer to the former president of the United States.
The FBI filing in court specifically said federal agents would avoid areas rented or used by third parties, “such as Mar-a-Lago members” and “private guest suites.” Trump owns the sprawling estate, and it is his primary residence, as well as a members-only club and resort.
“It is described as a mansion with approximately 58 bedrooms, 33 bathrooms, on a 17-acre property,” FBI agents told the judge in their filing, describing Mar-a-Lago’s ownership.
Trump did not oppose release of search warrant
The FBI search at the Palm Beach, Florida resort on Monday was followed by days of silence from the Justice Department, as is common with ongoing investigations.
On Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the department had moved to unlock the search warrant and two attachments, including an inventory list, but also stressed that some of the department’s work must be done out of public view.
“We are doing this to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans and to protect the integrity of our investigations,” Garland said, explaining he would not provide more details about the basis of the search.
Trump said in a late night post on his Truth Social platform Thursday that he “would not oppose the release of documents” and that he was “going one step further by encouraging the immediate release of those documents”.
The court had ordered the Justice Department to consult with Trump about his request to open the warrant documents and set a deadline for Friday to report whether he opposed their release.
Trump’s team had contacted outside attorneys about how to proceed, and the former president’s job was caught off guard by Garland’s announcement.
In a few posts on Truth Social after Garland’s statement, Trump continued to claim that his attorneys “cooperated fully” and had developed “very good relationships” with federal investigators ahead of Monday’s search in Mar-a-Lago.
“The government could have had what they wanted if we had it,” Trump said. “Everything was fine, better than most previous presidents, and then, out of the blue and without warning, Mar-a-Lago was ambushed at 6:30 am by VERY large numbers of cops and even ‘safecrackers.’”
This story and headline have been updated with additional developments.
Kevin Liptak of CNN contributed to this report.