Four days after officials searched President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, the search warrant and related documents that accompanied it were made public. One of three laws listed in the warrant application, the Espionage Act adopted in 1917, makes it illegal to disclose information that threatens national security.
In a post on his social media channel, Trump claimed the documents were “completely declassified” and stored in “secure storage.”
“They didn’t have to ‘seize’ anything. They could get it anytime they wanted, without playing politics and sneaking into Mar-a-Lago,” said the Republican businessman-turned-politician.
The discovery was made as part of a federal investigation into whether Trump improperly removed papers after he lost the presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden two months earlier in January 2021.
Three laws listed as grounds for warrants make it criminal to mishandle federal records, regardless of whether they are classified, even though the FBI on Monday removed evidence marked as sensitive. So Trump’s claim that he declassified the record would not be relevant to the alleged legal violations.
A list of things taken by FBI investigators revealed that they removed more than 30 items, including more than 20 boxes, photo binders, a handwritten message and a presidential clemency to Trump aide and longtime adviser Roger Stone. orders are included. The list also contained details about the “President of France”.
The warrant revealed that FBI agents were instructed to search “office 45”, a place on the property used by Trump or his employees where boxes or documents might have been kept, as well as all others on the property. rooms, structures or buildings. , Trump was the 45th President of America.
In the warrant application authorized by US magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, the Justice Department said it had reason to think there was a breach of the Espionage Act at Trump’s residence.
That law was initially passed to thwart espionage. Before the Justice Department extended its use under both Trump and his predecessor Barack Obama to prosecute those leaking information about national security, including leaks to the media, prosecutions under it were relatively rare.
The referred section of the law for warrants prohibits the unlawful possession of material relating to national defence. It omitted to elaborate on the suspicion of investigators that such a breach had taken place.
The Espionage Act has recently been employed by the Justice Department in prime examples, including those linked to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, former military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning and former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
The application also lists possible reasons for the alleged violations of two other laws that make it unlawful to conceal or destroy official records of the United States.