(CNN) –– The FBI raid of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence this week came months after federal investigators executed an earlier grand jury order in June and seized sensitive national security documents owned by Trump during a meeting at the time, people familiar with the matter told CNN.
Investigators carried out the search Monday in part because they found evidence, including from at least one witness, that potentially classified documents remained at the Palm Beach, Florida, property, according to a person familiar with the matter. What happened several months after the National Archives organized the recovery of 15 boxes of documents that included classified information in January of this year, the person added.
Authorities also considered the documents remaining at Mar-a-Lago to have national security implications, CNN reported earlier this week.
The warrant issued before the June meeting, in which agents were shown the documents were kept in a basement room at Mar-a-Lago, reveals how the investigation has escalated. And it also suggests that discussions turned confrontational long before Monday’s raid.
The criminal investigation was started by some concerns from the National Archives about missing documents. So, that agency made a criminal referral to the Justice Department. Which led to FBI interviews with aides, grand jury orders and, ultimately, the search and seizure of documents that a court authorized this week.
Trump and his lawyers have tried to portray their interactions with Justice Department prosecutors as cooperative, and that the raid came as a shock to them. The grand jury order was initially reported by Just the News.
Asked about the grand jury order, Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich said in a statement to CNN: “Monday’s unprecedented and utterly unnecessary break-in at President Trump’s home was only the most recent and most egregious hostile action by the Biden administration, whose Justice Department has been instrumental in harassing President Trump, his supporters, and his staff.”
Earlier this spring in the United States, federal investigators began interviewing Trump staffers at Mar-a-Lago and former White House officials who were involved in moving documents from the West Wing to the Palm Beach residence at end of his presidency, according to three people familiar with those interviews.
In addition to the grand jury warrant for the documents, CNN previously reported that federal investigators separately served a warrant on surveillance video at Mar-a-Lago to gather information about who had access to the areas where the documents were stored. , according to people briefed on the matter. The order sent to the Trump Organization, the former president’s company that operates the Palm Beach property, came after the June meeting.
CNN previously reported that federal investigators visited Mar-a-Lago in June to discuss with the former president and his attorneys White House records they believed were still on the Palm Beach property.
Trump was present at the start of the meeting to greet investigators but did not stick around to answer questions. During the meeting, Trump’s lawyers showed investigators documents, some of which had markings indicating they were classified. Agents were given custody of documents that were marked top secret or top, according to a person familiar with the matter.