The US Justice Department on Friday released an edited version https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/legaldocs/jnvwenmbqvw/Trump%20affidavit%20Mar%20a%20Lago.pdf of the document law that allowed the FBI to seize secret government records from former President Donald Trump’s home in Florida.
The affidavit revealed some new details about the classified documents Trump kept at his Mar-a-Lago home through January of this year, from notes handwritten by the president to information about national intelligence sources.
It also showed efforts by Trump representatives to claim that he had the authority to declassify documents.
Of the 32-page document filed Friday, 23 pages had parts blacked out and of those, 11 were blacked out entirely.
The statement also contained a letter from Trump’s defense attorney, Evan Corcorcan, who wrote on May 25 to complain about the Justice Department investigation.
“Any attempt to impose criminal liability on a president or former president involving their actions with respect to documents marked as classified would raise serious constitutional issues of separation of powers,” he wrote.
“In addition, the main criminal statute governing the unauthorized removal and retention of documents or classified material does not apply to the President,” he added.
The Aug. 8 search at Mar-a-Lago marked a major escalation in one of the many federal and state investigations Trump faces due to his time as president and in private business. The former Republican president has suggested that he could run for the White House again.
The FBI’s action is part of a federal investigation into whether Trump illegally withdrew documents when he left office in January 2021, after losing the presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden, and whether he tried to obstruct the government’s investigation.
According to the document released Friday, an unidentified FBI agent said the US National Archives had discovered dozens of “classification-marked documents” containing “national defense information” when it recovered 15 boxes from Mar-a-Lago. in January.
The FBI agent said a preliminary review of the records the Archives received in the 15 boxes, which took place between May 16 and 18, found 184 “unique documents” labeled classified. Of those, 67 were marked “confidential”, while 92 were marked “secret” and 25 were marked “top secret”.
Other defense-related records, meanwhile, contained references to things like confidential human sources that help the United States in its intelligence gathering.