The search warrant identifies three federal crimes the Justice Department is considering as part of its investigation: violations of the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice, and criminal handling of government records. The inclusion of the crimes indicates that the Department of Justice had probable cause to investigate those crimes because it was collecting evidence in the research. No one has been charged with a crime at this time.
Court documents showed that agents also took four sets of “top secret” documents, three sets of “secret” documents, and three sets of “secret” documents. In total, the unsealed warrant shows that the FBI collected more than 20 boxes, as well as folders of photos, collections of classified government materials and at least one handwritten note.
The memo, which was opened and released publicly on the order of a federal judge, was obtained by CNN prior to its release. This moment marks an unprecedented week that began with research – a step to gather evidence in a national security investigation.
A search warrant reveals new details about the scope of the FBI investigation
While details about the documents themselves remain scarce, the laws cited in the memo offer new insight into what the FBI was looking for when it searched Trump’s home, an unprecedented move that drew a firestorm of criticism from the former president’s closest allies.
The laws include “destruction or concealment of documents to obstruct government investigations” and the unlawful deletion of government records, according to a search warrant issued Friday.
Also included is a law known as the Espionage Act, which relates to “the retrieval, storage, or transmission of national defense information or classified materials.”
All three criminal laws mentioned in the memorandum are taken from Title 18 of the United States Code. None of them hinges solely on whether the information is considered non-confidential.
It is unclear how the stone-related document seized during the investigation relates to the broader criminal investigation into Trump’s possible mishandling of classified materials.
During the inspection, FBI agents also recovered materials belonging to the “President of France,” according to the receipt of the order. The French embassy in Washington, on Friday, refused to respond to the developments.
FBI agents searched “Office 45” in Mar-a-Lago
Court documents released Friday also provide new details about the search itself and reveal that FBI agents were only allowed to access specific locations within Mar-a-Lago as they combed the Trump resort residence for possible evidence of crimes.
The judge allowed the FBI to search what the bureau called “45 offices,” an apparent reference to Trump’s place in history as the 45th president. Agents were also allowed to search for “all rooms or other areas” in Mar-a-Lago that were available to Trump and his staff to store boxes and documents.
“The locations to be searched include Office 45 and all storage rooms and all other rooms or areas within the premises used or made available for use by FPOTUS and its employees in which boxes or documents may be stored, including all structures or buildings on the estate,” the memo says. , used the acronym “FPOTUS” to refer to the former President of the United States.
An FBI warrant request to the judge specifically said that federal agents would avoid areas rented or used by third parties, “such as Mar-a-Lago members” and “private guest suites.” Trump owns the sprawling property, which 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.
Trump did not oppose the release of the search warrant
The FBI’s search at the resort in Palm Beach, Florida on Monday was followed by days of silence from the Justice Department, as is customary by the department for ongoing investigations.
Then, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday that the department had moved to rescind the stamp of the search warrant and two attachments, including the inventory, but he also stressed that some of the department’s work must take place outside public view.
“We do this to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans and to protect the integrity of our investigations,” Garland said, making clear he would not provide further details on the basis for the research.
In a late-night post on his Truth Social Thursday, Trump said he “would not oppose the release of the documents” and was “taking a step forward by encouraging the immediate release of those documents.”
The court had instructed the Justice Department to consult with Trump about its request to release the arrest warrant documents and set a Friday deadline to report whether he opposes their release.
Trump’s team contacted outside lawyers about how to proceed, and was surprised by Garland’s announcement of the former president’s orbit.
In two posts on the Truth Social after Garland’s statement, Trump continued to claim that his attorneys were “fully cooperating” and that they had developed “very good relationships” with federal investigators prior to Monday’s search in Mar-a-Lago.
“The government could have gotten what it wanted, if we had that,” Trump said. “Everything was fine, better than most previous presidents, and then, out of nowhere and without warning, Mar-a-Lago, at 6:30 a.m., was raided by too many customers, and even ‘cabin crackers’. “.””
This story and title have been updated with additional developments.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.
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