DOJ Accuses Trump Team of 'Likely' Hiding Classified Docs at Mar-a-Lago

An aerial view of former U.S. President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home after Trump said that FBI agents raided it, in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. August 9, 2022.
An aerial view of former U.S. President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home after Trump said that FBI agents raided it, in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. August 9, 2022. (Reuters)
Prosecutors obtained a search warrant for former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate after uncovering evidence that classified documents were "likely concealed and removed" as part of an effort to "obstruct the government's investigation" into the discovery of sensitive records, the Justice Department said in a court filing late Tuesday.

The 36-page filing asked a federal judge to deny Trump's Aug. 22 request to appoint a "special master" in charge of reviewing evidence the FBI seized from his estate. The document also provided the most detailed account of what led to the FBI's unprecedented raid of Trump's property on Aug.8.

The Justice Department issued a grand jury subpoena to Trump's team on May 11, demanding that all classified documents be returned to the government. According to the filing, a representative of the former president gave FBI agents a folder of documents on June 3. Meanwhile, another representative swore in writing that Trump had turned over "any and all documents that are responsive to the subpoena."

A deeper probe revealed that to be untrue, the Justice Department said.

"The FBI uncovered multiple sources of evidence indicating that the response to the May 11 grand jury subpoena was incomplete, and that classified documents remained at the premises, notwithstanding the sworn certification made to the government on June 3," the Justice Department wrote in the filing.

"The government also developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed from the Storage Room and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government's investigation," the Justice Department said.

According to the filing, the FBI seized 33 boxes containing more than 100 classified documents—including information classified at the highest levels—from the Mar-a-Lago search on Aug. 8.

That was more than "twice the amount" Trump's attorneys swore under oath that they voluntarily returned, the filing said. The document also included a photo showing pages marked "TOP SECRET" spread out on the carpet.

"That the FBI, in a matter of hours, recovered twice as many documents with classification markings as the 'diligent search' that the former President's counsel and other representatives had weeks to perform calls into serious question the representations made in the June 3 certification, and casts doubt on the extent of cooperation in this matter."

Trump's attorneys have not responded to requests for comment on the filing, but the former president and his allies have claimed that the investigation is politically motivated.

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