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What kind of documents was the FBI looking for at Trump’s house in Mar-a-Lago?

Federal investigators searched former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence on Monday.

Former president Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. (Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Miami HeraldGetty

Attorney General Merrick Garland signed off a search warrant authorizing Federal investigators to conduct a search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida. FBI personnel turned up unannounced to Trump’s premises on Monday as part of an investigation into the alleged mishandling of White House records. The search was apparently focused on potentially classified documents which Trump had brought with him to Mar-a-Lago after leaving the White House in January last year.

Warrant and property receipt ordered to be made public

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has not said what it was seeking in the search or what items were confiscated, but Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Thursday that procedures were underway to have the Notice of Filing - the search warrant and the redacted property receipt, listing the items seized, to be unsealed.

“Just now, the Justice Department has filed a motion in the southern district of Florida, to unseal a search warrant and property receipt relating to a court-approved search that the FBI conducted earlier this week”, Attorney General Merrick Garland explained. “The Department did not make any public statements on the day of the search. The former president publicly confirmed the search earlier that evening as is his right. Copies of both the warrant and the FBI property receipt were provided on the day of the search to the former president’s counsel who was on site during the search. The Department filed the motion to make public the warrant and receipt, in light of the former president’s confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances and the substantial public interest in this matter”.

Former US President Donald Trump departs Trump Tower two days after FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, August 10, 2022.
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Former US President Donald Trump departs Trump Tower two days after FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, August 10, 2022.DAVID DEE DELGADOREUTERS

Trump happy for warrant details to be released

On Thursday, Donald Trump posted on his social media that he would not oppose any judicial order to make the search documents public - although he has the right to object, he has until 3 p.m. on Friday to do so.

Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform: “Not only will I not oppose the release of documents related to the unAmerican, unwarranted, and unnecessary raid and break-in of my home in Palm Beach, Florida, Mar-a-Lago, I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents, even though they have been drawn up by radical left Democrats and possible future political opponents, who have a strong and powerful vested interest in attacking me, much as they have done for the last 6 years”

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For the FBI to request a search warrant at short notice implies that the case is serious, so what were they looking for? Sources close to the investigation told The Washington Post that Federal investigators were hoping to locate potentially classified material relating to nuclear weapons as well as other documents that could pose a threat to national security. Former Archivist David Ferriero has previously said that Trump returned 15 boxes to the government in January 2022. The archives later discovered some of the items were “marked as classified national security information.”


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