FBI court filings show that former President Donald Trump kept documents marked “classified” or “secret” at his secure Mar-a-Lago home and office, according to The Daily Mail.
Documents retrieved from a desk drawer in his office during the August raid by 32 FBI agents reportedly also include communications from an author, a pollster and a religious leader — all dated after Trump left office in January 2021.
Some have suggested that possession of documents marked “classified” or “secret” prove that Trump willfully broke the law.
Trump maintains that as president, he declassified all documents in question before he left office — that claim has been disputed.
Trump has also argued that political bias is in play — pointing out that Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, George Bush Sr. and Barack Obama all were or are in possession of “classified” documents at unsecured facilities.
The latest information comes from an eight-page complaint filed by the Justice Department over the weekend. The complaint was sent to the special master, Raymond Dearie, who is responsible for reviewing more than 100 documents that the FBI seized to determine whether or not they should be included in the DOJ’s case against the former president.
The Guardian published an excerpt from the complaint:
“Because plaintiff [Trump] can only have received the documents bearing classification markings in his capacity as president, the entire mixed document is a presidential record.”
The complaint argues that the documents seized by the FBI should not be subject to claims of executive privilege, stating:
“Three communications are from a book author, a religious leader, and a pollster. The first two cannot be characterized as presidential advisers and all three are either dated or by content occurred after Plaintiff’s administration ended.”
The FBI’s Aug. 8 search of Trump’s home and office also produced a “leather-bound box” which included seven documents marked “top secret,” fifteen documents marked “secret” and two documents marked “confidential.”
The leather box also reportedly contained 45 empty folders with “classified” banners and 28 folders marked “Return to Staff Secretary/Military Aide.”
Trump charges that a politically biased Department of Justice is trying to undermine his future political ambitions. His legal team has complained that the FBI has repeatedly leaked sensitive information to the press and continues to fight for transparency in the case.
A legal representative recently said: “Given the significance of this investigation, it must be conducted in a manner that gives the public confidence in its outcome. The Court should simply not allow the Government to cloak these proceedings from public view based on its unverified assertions.”
Though Trump has not formally announced a bid to run for president in 2024, many anticipate he will do so during what he called a “big announcement” scheduled for Nov. 15 at 9 p.m. (ET).
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