Federal government officials have recovered hundreds of classified documents from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida since he left office, according to a new report.
The initial trove of documents the National Archives and Records Administration collected in January included over 150 documents with classified markings, and seizures in June and in August brought the total up to more than 300, sources told the New York Times.
In January, following weeks of communication with Trump’s team, the National Archives retrieved 15 boxes of presidential documents before discovering classified material and referring the matter to the Justice Department, which opened an investigation.
DOJ officials visited Trump’s lavish Palm Beach resort in June and collected another batch of documents possessing sensitive national security information holed up in the basement of Mar-a-Lago. The DOJ then subpoenaed the Trump Organization on June 22 for security footage of the area where the documents were stored. Investigators sought the footage to shed light on who had access to areas where the documents were stored, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Trump lawyer Christina Bobb signed a document in June asserting that all the classified material had been returned to the government, the New York Times reported.
Convinced that there were even more classified materials holed up at the resort, the Justice Department received the green light from Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart to conduct the Aug. 5 search and seizure at Mar-a-Lago. Attorney General Merrick Garland revealed last week that he “personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant.”
During the raid, officials collected 26 boxes, which had 11 sets of material with classified markings, the New York Times reported. At least one of those sets of documents was designated with the highest level of classification, per the report.
Trump unveiled a lawsuit Monday, which aims to block the DOJ from reviewing evidence collected in the August raid at Mar-a-Lago.
“We have just filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida strongly asserting my rights, including under the Fourth Amendment of our Constitution, regarding the unnecessary, unwarranted, and unAmerican Break-In by dozens of FBI agents, and others, of my home, Mar-a-Lago,” Trump posted on his Truth Social platform Monday.
Trump has railed against the Justice Department, arguing that he declassified the materials he possessed, and denied any wrongdoing. The DOJ inquiry into his documents is one of several investigations the former president faces as he mulls another run for the White House.
Trump is being investigated for obstruction of justice and possibly flouting the Espionage Act, per the warrant unsealed Friday. While the warrant has been unsealed, the DOJ has been in court fighting to keep the affidavit for the raid sealed. The document lays out the justification underpinning the raid. Trump has publicly voiced support for the release of the affidavit.
A judge ordered the DOJ to file a proposed redacted version of the affidavit by Thursday, along with a few other related documents.