FBI finds more than 11,000 government records at Trump’s Florida home

The FBI recovered more than 11,000 government documents and photographs during an Aug. 8 search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate, as well as 48 empty folders labeled “classified,” according to court records unsealed Friday.

U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon unsealed a day in West Palm Beach after hearing oral arguments from Trump’s lawyers and the Justice Department’s top two investigative prosecutors. Request

Cannon immediately deferred ruling on whether to appoint a special master, but said he would agree to unseal two records filed by the Justice Department.

Former US Attorney General William Barr, a Trump appointee, questioned the usefulness of such an appointment.

“I think at this point, I think it’s a waste of time to get a special master because they (the FBI) ​​have already checked the documents,” Barr said in an interview on Fox News.

Barr, who left office in late December 2020, rebuffed Trump by not backing up his false claims that the presidential election was stolen from him that year.

In that interview, Barr added that he saw no “legitimate reason” for Trump to keep the documents on his Florida estate classified.

Read more | The FBI affidavit shows Trump mixed top-secret documents with journals and other materials

He added, “I’m obviously skeptical of (Trump’s) claim that ‘I’ve classified everything.’ , it’s an impropriety, show such recklessness. Worse than taking documents.”

One of the records released Friday details more about 33 boxes and other items the FBI found inside Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate as part of a criminal investigation into whether he illegally retained national security information. To prevent investigation.

This shows that documents with classification marks are sometimes combined with other materials such as books, magazines and newspaper clippings.

Unspecified gifts and clothing items were also found.

Of the more than 11,000 government records and photographs, 18 are labeled “top secret,” 54 “confidential” and 31 “confidential,” according to a Reuters tally of the government’s inventory.

“Top Secret” is the highest classification level reserved for the country’s most closely held secrets.

There were also 90 blank folders, 48 ​​of which were marked “classified” and the others indicated that they should be returned to the Secretary of the Staff/Army Assistant.

It is not clear why the folders were empty or if any records were missing.

Another three-page filing by the Justice Department updating the court on the status of the investigative panel’s review of the seized documents remains unsealed.

The filing, dated Aug. 30, said investigators have completed a preliminary review of the seized items and will conduct further investigations and interview more witnesses.

The Justice Department’s criminal investigation could be suspended if Canon agrees to appoint a special master and conduct an independent third-party review of the seized records.

During Thursday’s hearing, however, Cannon signaled that he was willing to allow U.S. intelligence officials to continue to review the materials as part of their national security damage assessment, even if a special master was appointed.

The Justice Department has previously said in court filings that it has evidence that documents were intentionally withheld when the FBI tried to retrieve classified documents from Trump’s home in June.

The Justice Department opposes the appointment of a special master, saying the records in question do not belong to Trump and he cannot claim they are covered by executive privilege, a legal doctrine used to protect certain presidential communications.

Read more | The US National Archives has identified more than 700 pages of declassified records at Trump’s home.

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