Anonymous sources cited in a Washington Post report Friday claim classified documents seized by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago contain intelligence about Iran and China.
At least one document seized in the FBI raid of former President Trump’s Florida home describes Iran’s missile program, according to the Post report. People whom the Post said spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe an ongoing investigation said other documents described intelligence work aimed at China.
U.S. Intelligence agencies reportedly worry foreign assets helping the U.S. spy on those countries could be endangered or collection methods compromised. Also, there is a possibility that other countries could retaliate against the United States for previously secret actions it has taken.
The Post sources claim classified documents concerning Iran and China are among the most sensitive the FBI has recovered to date in its investigation of Trump and his aides for possible mishandling of classified information, obstruction and destruction of government records.
Trump has repeatedly insisted he declassified every document transported from the Oval Office to Mar-a-Lago. He points to the 2012 case brought by the watchdog Judicial Watch against former President Bill Clinton after learning about 79 audio tapes of presidential business conducted in the White House.
Judicial Watch said the Presidential Records Act indicated the National Archives should assume control over all presidential records upon leaving office.
“Under the statutory scheme established by the PRA, the decision to segregate personal materials from Presidential records is made by the President, during the President’s term and in his sole discretion,” U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote in her March 2012 decision, which was not appealed.
“Since the President is completely entrusted with the management and even the disposal of Presidential records during his time in office, it would be difficult for this Court to conclude that Congress intended that he would have less authority to do what he pleases with what he considers to be his personal records,” she added.
The judge further noted that Clinton possessed the tapes and the only way the government could get them would be to seize them from the former president. Clinton’s defense team claimed federal seizure of records in the former president’s possession would be an extraordinary request that was contrary to the PRA’s express terms and to traditional principles of administrative law.
“The Court agrees,” noted Judge Jackson.