Deutsche Welle English reports: The US Justice Department released a redacted version of the legal document that allowed the FBI to seize classified government records from former United States President Trump’s Florida home.
The move was highly anticipated to shed more light on evidence that led to the unprecedented search.
US Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who had approved the warrant that led to the FBI’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence on August 8, had ordered the unsealing of the redacted affidavit by noon (1600 GMT).
“The government is conducting a criminal investigation concerning the improper removal and storage of classified information in unauthorized spaces, as well as the unlawful concealment or removal of government records,” the 32-page affidavit began.
“The FBI’s investigation has established that documents bearing classification markings, which appear to contain National Defense Information (NDI), were among the materials contained in the FIFTEEN BOXES and were stored at the PREMISES in an unauthorized location,” the FBI affidavit read.
According to the affidavit, officials found in those boxes 184 classified documents, including 25 documents marked as top secret. Agents who inspected the boxes found markings related to information provided by confidential human sources as well as information related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
“There is probable cause to believe that additional documents that contain classified [information] or that are Presidential records subject to record retention requirements currently remain at [Mar-a-Lago],” the FBI document added.
“There is also probable cause to believe that evidence of obstruction will be found at [Mar-a-Lago.],” the affidavit continued.
The search in Palm Beach marked a significant escalation in one of the many federal and state investigations Trump is facing from his time in office and in private business. The Republican former president has suggested he might run for the White House again.
The FBI action was part of a federal probe into whether Trump illegally removed 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.
The FBI carried away more than 20 boxes containing 11 sets of classified government records, some of which were labeled “top secret.”
The affidavit, a document that is not usually made public unless someone is charged with a crime, is a sworn statement outlining the evidence that gave the department probable cause to seek a search warrant.