(CNN) — A federal judge on Friday released the search warrant and property receipt from the FBI record of former President Donald Trump’s compound in Palm Beach, Florida.

The search, documents show, gathered evidence for a national security investigation into presidential records at Mar-a-Lago. Trump owns the sprawling property, and it is his primary residence as well as a members-only club and resort.

The FBI recovered 11 sets of classified documents during its search, including some materials marked “top secret/SCI” — one of the highest levels of classification, according to search warrant documents released Friday.

During the search, three federal crimes were identified that the Department of Justice is analyzing as part of its investigation:

  • Violations of the Espionage Law
  • obstruction of justice
  • Criminal handling of government records

The inclusion of the crimes indicates that the Justice Department has probable cause to investigate them, as it was gathering evidence in the search. No one has been charged with a crime at this time.

Here are some key points of the search warrant and the receipt or inventory of the stolen items by the FBI.

Inventory of stolen items

The receipt for property seized during the execution of a search warrant by the FBI at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. (Jon Elswick/AP)

One of the newly unsealed documents is a search warrant “receipt” listing items the FBI collected from the Mar-a-Lago complex.

That document reveals that FBI agents removed more than 20 boxes from Trump’s Palm Beach resort and residence, as well as folders with photos, sets of classified government materials and at least one handwritten note.

According to the search warrant receipt, federal agents seized:

1 set of “top secret/SCI” documents
4 sets of “top secret” documents
3 sets of “secret” documents
3 sets of “confidential” documents.

The warrant receipt did not detail what those classified documents were about.

Among the items taken were:

  • A document on the pardon of Roger Stone, a staunch Trump ally who was convicted in 2019 of lying to Congress during its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Stone-related material taken from Mar-a-Lago was listed on the warrant receipt as “Executive Grant of Clemency re: Roger Jason Stone, Jr.”
  • Material on the “President of France”.

Trump pardoned Stone before leaving office, shielding him from a three-year prison term. It is unclear how the Stone-related document seized during the search is related to the broader criminal investigation into Trump’s possible mishandling of classified materials.

Authorized search areas

Why did Trump spend much of his presidency at Mar-a-Lago? 2:32

The judge authorized the FBI to search what the agency called “Office 45” as well as “all other rooms or areas” at Mar-a-Lago that were available to former President Trump and his staff to store boxes and documents.

“Locations to be searched include ‘Office 45’, all storage rooms, and all other rooms or areas within the facility used or available for use by FPOTUS and its staff and in which boxes or documents may be stored. , including all structures or buildings on the property,” the order says, using the acronym “FPOTUS” to refer to the former US president.

The FBI’s warrant request to the judge specifically said that federal agents would avoid areas that were rented or used by third parties, “such as those of Mar-a-Lago members” and “private guest suites.” Trump owns the sprawling property, and it is his primary residence as well as a members-only club and resort.

“It is described as a mansion with approximately 58 bedrooms, 33 bathrooms, on a 17-acre property,” FBI agents told the judge in their application describing the Mar-a-Lago property.

Chronology of the execution and release of the search warrant

trump

Aerial view of Trump-owned Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on August 10, 2022.

Friday, August 5: Federal Judge Bruce Reinhart signs the search warrant at 12:12 p.m., according to the order.

Monday, August 8: FBI agents execute the search warrant.

Thursday, August 11: Attorney General Merrick Garland announces that the Justice Department will ask a judge to unseal some of the search warrant documents, in the interest of transparency. Trump says in a late-night post on his Truth Social platform that he “will not oppose the release of documents” related to the search.

Friday, August 12: Reinhart approves the release of the court order, at the request of the Justice Department and after Trump’s lawyers agreed to the release.

CNN has reported that there has been an increase in violent pro-Trump rhetoric against Reinhart online. Amid those threats, the official website for the Southern District of Florida removed Reinhart’s biography page, his contact information and his office address, CNN previously reported.

Previously, CNN did not name Reinhart due to security concerns, but is doing so now because his name is now part of the court’s public record.

The Trump team’s response

Is the FBI politicized? Diaz-Rosillo’s opinion 1:16

The search warrant receipts were signed by former President Trump’s attorney, Christina Bobb, who has since spoken out about her presence at Mar-a-Lago during the search.

Bobb has complained about the fact that she and other Trump attorneys were not allowed to observe the search while it was being conducted, but it is not standard FBI procedure to allow observers during a search.

She signed two “property receipts,” which list the items the FBI took from Mar-a-Lago. Bobb signed these receipts at 6:19 pm, when federal agents were wrapping up their all-day search.

Bobb is a known promoter of pro-Trump conspiracy theories, including during her previous tenure at OAN, the far-right television channel. CNN previously reported that Bobb played a leading role in the Trump campaign’s efforts in December 2020 to present fake Republican voter lists in seven states.

Kash Patel, who was appointed by former President Trump to handle problems with his presidential records, blamed the General Services Administration (GSA) for the boxes being at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, where the FBI recovered classified material during a search Monday.

“The GSA mistakenly packed some boxes and moved them to Mar-a-Lago. That’s not the president’s fault. It’s up to the National Archives to figure that out,” Patel said on Fox.

Patel, a former national security official in the Trump administration, said that at the end of the Trump presidency in December 2020 and January 2021, Trump declassified sets of documents. He did not say whether the boxes recovered at Mar-a-Lago were part of that declassification.

When asked about the declassification process, Patel said that while there is a “normal” process for government employees, the president has “unilateral classification authority to classify or declassify. If he says something is declassified, that’s it, then it’s declassified.”

There are federal regulations that establish a process for a president to declassify documents.

CNN’s Elizabeth Stuart and Kristen Holmes contributed to this report.



Source link