After a week of attacking the Justice Department, claiming victimhood, and offering nonsensical defenses of the classified documents that were apparently still residing in his seaside resort post-presidency, Donald Trump appeared to selectively leak search warrant documents ahead of formally agreeing that a judge could unseal the documents in a court record.
The documents, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, showed that FBI agents recovered more classified materials from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort during their Monday search, including one set of documents marked as “Various classified/TS/SCI documents.”
The “SCI” acronym stands for sensitive compartmented information, among the most sensitive classified materials the U.S. government possesses.
In addition, a “Receipt for Property” listed four entries for “Miscellaneous Top Secret Documents,” three sets of secret documents, and three more sets of confidential documents. Other items were more descriptive: “Executive Grant of Clemency re: Roger Jason Stone, Jr.” and “Info re: President of France” are among the list entries, as are two binders of photos, a handwritten note, and 21 entries noting various labeled boxes.
The document was signed as received by Christina Bobb, a lawyer working for Trump and an anchor on the far-right One America News Network.
The warrant stated that Mar-a-Lago would be searched for any evidence of violations of the three criminal laws, all under Title 18 of the U.S. Code: The Espionage Act; Section 1519, an obstruction statute that covers concealing or destroying documents; and Section 2071, which concerns unlawfully removing or concealing records.
Trump could have simply released the warrant documents when federal agents handed them to his attorney on Monday — at which point he instead dramatically announced to the world that his beloved Mar-a-Lago was “under siege, raided, and occupied.” After the Justice Department moved for the warrant documents to be unsealed Thursday, Trump could have simply posted pictures of the papers online. Instead, he publicly urged the court to do it for him.
On Friday, a string of publications — starting with the Journal, proceeding through Trump friendlies like Breitbart and Fox News, and snaking thereafter to Politico and the rest — mysteriously reported on the contents of the document in Trump’s possession.
At that point, finally, it was federal prosecutors’ turn: As digital printing presses churned, prosecutors told a federal judge that they’d been informed by Trump’s counsel that the former President “does not object” to the unsealing of warrant materials.
Soon after that notice, Bruce Reinhart, the magistrate judge who’d approved the warrant, ordered the warrant unsealed, along with a redacted list of seized items.
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), reacting to the public reporting Friday, noted the top secret documents said to be among those recovered by the FBI and said the protection of classified information was “an issue of the highest priority for the Intelligence Committee, and as we learn more, we will responsibly discharge our oversight responsibilities.”
The question of whether Trump broke the law, Schiff added, is “best left to the Department of Justice.”
See the unsealed warrant documents below:
This post has been updated.