PICTURED: Classified documents sprawled across Mar-a-Lago during FBI raid as DOJ claims it’s uncovered a plot to ‘conceal’ papers in desk to hide them from probe: Officials shoot down request for a special master review
- The Justice Department on Tuesday night detailed their reasoning behind the August 8 search of Mar-a-Lago
- Classified documents were found not even in boxes, but kept in drawers in Donald Trump’s desk
- Trump’s lawyers told the Justice Department in June that all the records that had come from the White House were stored in one location, which was not true
- Tuesday’s document was in response to Trump’s lawyers’ request that a ‘special master’ be appointed to oversee the review of the seized papers
The Justice Department has released images of classified documents sprawled across the floor at Mar-a-Lago during the FBI’s raid.
The bombshell pictures showed the papers – with many marked ‘top secret’ – on the carpet at Donald Trump’s Florida mansion during the August 8 search.
The photographs were released in a 36-page court filing where officials said they’d uncovered a plot to obstruct the probe into the discovery of government records.
The DOJ accused the ex-president’s team of moving around and hiding classified documents they had previously searched for.
Officials claimed they were ‘likely concealed and removed’ from a padlocked storage room where Trump’s lawyers had said they were all kept together.
The new court filing also shot down attempts to get a ‘special master’ – a third party – to review the documents seized by the FBI, branding the move ‘unnecessary’.
The FBI seized 33 boxes with over 100 classified records during its raid – and found classified documents stashed in Trump’s office, according to the filing.
The filing, released late Tuesday, lays out the most detailed chronology of months of strained interactions between the DOJ and the ex-president’s team.
It offers another indication of the sheer volume of classified records retrieved from Mar-a-Lago.
It shows how investigators conducting a criminal probe have focused not just on why the records were stored there, but also on whether the Trump team intentionally misled them about the continued, and unlawful, presence of the top secret documents.
The timeline laid out by the Justice Department made clear that the extraordinary search of Mar-a-Lago came only after other efforts to retrieve the records had failed.
It shows it resulted from law enforcement suspicion additional documents remained inside the mansion despite assurances a ‘diligent search’ had accounted for them.
A photo of documents seized during the August 8 search of Mar-a-Lago was published on Tuesday night by the Justice Department
Agents stand guard outside Mar-a-Lago on August 8, as the FBI was searching the property
Police are seen outside Mar-a-Lago as Trump supporters gather to show their allegiance
The above timeline highlights just some of former president Donald Trump’s battles with the National Archives since leaving office, including an unrelated court fight with the January 6 committee
The new picture shows some of the seized documents bearing clear classification markings, suggesting whoever saw them would know they were sensitive.
The photo shows the cover pages of a smattering of paperclip-bound classified documents.
Some were marked ‘TOP SECRET//SCI’ with bright yellow borders and one marked as ‘SECRET//SCI’ with a rust-colored border.
There were also ones with whited-out pages and a a cardboard box filled with gold-framed pictures, including a Time magazine cover.
The Justice Department filing does not resolve a core question that has driven public fascination with the investigation – why Trump held on to the documents after he left the White House and why he and his team resisted repeated efforts to give them back. In fact, it suggests officials may not have received an answer.
During a June 3 visit to Mar-a-Lago by FBI and Justice Department officials, the document states, ‘Counsel for the former President offered no explanation as to why boxes of government records, including 38 documents with classification markings, remained at the Premises nearly five months after the production of the Fifteen Boxes and nearly one-and-a-half years after the end of the Administration.’
That visit to Mar-a-Lago, which came weeks after the Justice Department issued a subpoena for the records, receives substantial attention in the document and appears to be a key investigative focus.
Though Trump has said he had declassified all of the documents at Mar-a-Lago, his lawyers did not suggest that during the visit and instead ‘handled them in a manner that suggested counsel believed that the documents were classified,’ according to the document.
A Palm Beach police officer is seen outside Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on August 9, the day after the raid
Boxes of documents and personal items are seen being moved out of the White House in January 2021, as Donald Trump moved out
The suit filed by Trump on August 12, seeking to have a ‘special master’ oversee the investigation into the documents, includes an itemized list of property the FBI seized and seeks a more detailed accounting. One box contained ‘Miscellaneous Top Secret Documents’
‘Mar-a-Lago is a historical mansion with 58 bedrooms and 33 bathrooms on 17 acres of land extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the Intracoastal Waterway,’ the suit points out. A DOJ official was shown a storage room where government documents were stored alongside clothing
The former president was at Trump Tower in New York City when his home was raided, his son Eric Trump told Fox News that night
FBI agents who went there to receive additional materials were given ‘a single Redweld envelope, double-wrapped in tape, containing the documents,’ the filing states.
That envelope, according to the FBI, contained 38 unique documents with classification markings, including five documents marked confidential, 16 marked secret and 17 marked top secret.
During that visit, the document says, Trump´s lawyers told investigators that all the records that had come from the White House were stored in one location – a Mar-a-Lago storage room – and that ‘there were no other records stored in any private office space or other location at the Premises and that all available boxes were searched.’
After that, though, the Justice Department, which had subpoenaed video footage for the property, ‘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 filing does not identify the individuals who may have relocated the boxes.
In their August search, agents found classified documents both in the storage room as well as in the former president´s office – including three classified documents found not in boxes, but in office desks.
‘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,’ the document states.
It says, ‘In some instances, even the FBI counterintelligence personnel and DOJ attorneys conducting the review required additional clearances before they were permitted to review certain documents.’
The suit demands a special master oversee materials seized in the FBI’s raid of Mar-a-Lago, and calls Donald Trump the ‘clear frontrunner in the 2024 Republican presidential primary’
The investigation began from a referral from the National Archives and Records Administration, which recovered 15 boxes from Mar-a-Lago in January that were found to contain 184 documents with classified markings, including top secret information.
The purpose of the Tuesday night filing was to oppose a request from the Trump legal team for a special master to review the documents seized during this month’s search and set aside those protected by claims of legal privilege. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon is set to hear arguments on the matter on Thursday.
Cannon on Saturday said it was her ‘preliminary intent’ to appoint such a person but also gave the Justice Department an opportunity to respond.
On Monday, the department said it had already completed its review of potentially privileged documents and identified a ‘limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information.’ It said Tuesday that a special master was therefore ‘unnecessary.’
In a separate development, the Trump legal team has grown with the addition of another attorney.
Chris Kise, Florida’s former solicitor general, has joined the team of lawyers representing Trump, according to two people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to discuss the move by name and spoke on condition of anonymity. Kise did not return messages seeking comment.
In January, 15 boxes of documents were retrieved from Mar-a-Lago and returned to the National Archive: their recovery was reported in the media in February.
The bureau found 184 classified documents in that initial tranche.
After the National Archives discovered the classified material, some of which pertained to intelligence-gathering and clandestine human sources, it referred the matter to the FBI.
On May 11, the department lawyers obtained a subpoena to retrieve all materials marked as classified that were not turned over by the former president.
On June 3, FBI agents visited Mar-a-Lago to discuss the return of the documents: Trump’s team presented F.B.I. agents with 38 additional documents with classified markings, including 17 labeled top secret.
Yet still more documents remained at the estate, despite the requests to hand them over, and so the August 8 raid was approved.
Trump’s defenses for why he retained the materials have shifted, and he has not offered a reason for why he did not give all the records back.
He has previously claimed he declassified all the records, pointing to a president’s broad declassification powers. But Tuesday’s filing by the government denied this.
A padlocked basement full of documents in Mar-a-Lago, the DOJ’s counterintelligence chief and boxes of classified files: How investigators ‘met Trump lawyers in JUNE to ask about ‘missing’ files in search that began last year’
Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida was raided by the FBI on August 8, with the former president revealing the news in a furious and lengthy statement.
The unannounced search was related to White House documents sought by the National Archives, his son Eric Trump told Fox News later that night.
Federal agents ‘ransacked’ his father’s office, he said, and in his own statement the former president accused them of breaking into his safe.
But Trump’s issues with the National Archives reportedly began before he even left office.
Politico reported in 2018 that aides were forced to follow the then-president around to tape back documents that he had shredded – a habit the Republican was known for during his prior life heading the Trump Organization – in fear of running afoul of record-keeping laws.
And late last year, Trump attempted to slow the release of presidential documents from the National Archives to the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack.
It’s not clear what specifically is being investigated, but it’s worth noting there are laws on the books against tampering and destruction of classified presidential records.
Below is a timeline piecing together reports of the former president’s legal battle with the Capitol riot committee over his documents, which appeared to run parallel to the National Archives’ own efforts to recover classified pages from Trump.
The New York Times reported on August 9 that the two are not related.
Trump sues January 6 committee to block National Archives records
In October 2021, the former president launched a lawsuit against the Democrat-led House panel and the National Archives to block the release of White House records linked to last year’s Capitol riot.
Trump’s lawyers called the probe a ‘fishing expedition’ in a 26-page lawsuit filed in mid-October.
The attorneys had also requested that the National Archives send Trump’s team any documents that could be relevant for review.
Trump lost the case along with two subsequent appeals later that year.
FBI agents with a search warrant raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida on August 8
Supreme Court shuts down Trump’s bid to block documents, National Archives says it will turn them over
The January 6 committee revealed on January 19 that it had begun receiving documents from the National Archives that Trump ‘had hoped to keep hidden.’
It happened the same day as the Supreme Court rejecting Trump’s last-ditch request to shield his records.
Nine justices voted against the former president, including three who he appointed to the bench.
Only Clarence Thomas, whose wife Ginni is now being investigated by the committee over her efforts to push Trump’s election fraud claims, voted in Trump’s favor.
In addition to his own documents, the tranche also included records belonging to White House legal counsel, ex-adviser Stephen Miller and ex-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, The Guardian reported.
National Archives reveals some Trump records were ‘torn up’
The record-keeping body confirmed to the Washington Post on January 31 that the documents it handed to the January 6 committee ‘included paper records that had been torn up by former President Trump.’
At this point the National Archives had reportedly handed more than 700 pages to the committee.
Anti-media and pro-Trump protesters stands across the waterfront from Mar A Lago. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate after it was raided by FBI agents on August 8
Not all of them had been taped back together at the time of the committee’s receipt.
‘These were turned over to the National Archives at the end of the Trump Administration, along with a number of torn-up records that had not been reconstructed by the White House,’ the Archives reportedly said.
Trump’s 15 boxes of sensitive White House documents
The next month, the National Archives revealed that Trump had taken 15 boxes full of White House records to his Mar-a-Lago retreat after leaving Washington, DC the year before.
Officials from the Archives and the Records Administration had to retrieve the boxes this past January.
It was first reported by the Washington Post on February 7.
Items that were improperly taken and had to be retrieved included what Trump called ‘love letters’ exchanged with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
A letter from then-outgoing President Barack Obama to Trump when he first took office was also among the trove.
National Archives asks Justice Department to probe Trump record-keeping
Two days after it was revealed that Trump took 15 boxes of White House documents to Mar-a-Lago, the National Archives stepped up its enforcement by asking the Justice Department to probe the ex-president’s handling of the sensitive pages.
The Archives asked President Joe Biden’s DOJ to investigate whether Trump violated the Presidential Records Act, a source told CNN on February 9.
The Washington Post reported the next day that some of the files in the 15 boxes the Archives had retrieved were marked as ‘top secret’ – spurring security concerns.
Trump released a lengthy statement claiming he was ‘under siege’ and that federal agents broke into his safe
At the time, Trump’s spokesman Taylor Budowich said the records retrieving process was ‘normal and routine’ but was being ‘weaponized by anonymous, politically motivated government sources to peddle Fake News.’
Report details months-long effort to retrieve Trump documents
It follows a June visit by DOJ official Jay Bratt and two others to Mar-a-Lago to inquire about the documents
While the controversy between the former president and government record-keepers only gained steam earlier this year, a February 13 CNN report reveals that the National Archives knew as early as May 2021 that documents had been missing.
National Archives counsel Gary Stern reportedly first contacted an official in the White House who had been named the point-person for records-keeping matters.
Stern apparently reached out to one of Trump’s other lawyers after his efforts to get the records appeared to be slow-walked.
At the time of the February report, one person told CNN the matter had ‘not been fully resolved’ and the National Archives was still seeking more documents from Trump.
‘Former President Trump’s representatives have informed NARA that they are continuing to search for additional Presidential records that belong to the National Archives,’ the Archives said in a statement.
Classified documents were among the 15 boxes Trump took, National Archives says
A week later, the National Archives confirmed an earlier Washington Post report that top secret documents were among the trove that Trump took to Mar-a-Lago with him.
The body said in a statement published on February 18 that it was ‘in communication’ with the DOJ on Trump-retrieved documents that were ‘marked as classified national security information.’
In response to letters from the House Oversight Committee seeking more information on the matter, the Archives revealed the sensitive nature of the documents and added that social media and other online records from White House aides had not been properly stored.
The body said Trump aides had been warned about the matter previously.
DOJ summons grand jury in National Archives probe and grills Trump staffers
After months of silence, the Justice Department was revealed in May to be investigating whether Trump or others mishandled classified White House documents.
The DOJ convened a grand jury in the probe, the New York Times reported on May 12.
Prosecutors had subpoenaed the relevant documents from the National Archives, and CNN revealed they questioned Trump aides in April and May of this year.
Merrick Garland’s top officials sit down with Trump lawyers in Mar-a-Lago
Four top DOJ officials traveled to Mar-a-Lago in early June to speak with the former president’s attorneys about the documents, it was reported the day after the FBI raid.
In revealing the visit CNN noted how ‘rare’ in nature it was.
The DOJ’s counterintelligence and export control section chief Jay Bratt was reportedly among the group who sat down with Trump’s lawyers.
Trump’s team had also shown the government officials where Trump were storing documents.
Investigators reportedly observed that some of the files there were marked as classified.
At one point the former president himself reportedly stopped in to say hello and ‘make small talk’ before leaving again.
Trump staffers padlock documents room in Mar-a-Lago
Days after the investigators’ visit, they reportedly sent a letter to Trump’s staff asking them to secure the room where they observed the documents being stored.
Aides padlocked the area, according to CNN.
Feds raid Mar-a-Lago on August 8
It was reported that the FBI’s operation at Mar-a-Lago occurred in the early hours of August 8.
The ex-president had been at Trump Tower in New York City at the time. His son Eric Trump told Fox he informed his father of the raid.
CNN reported that federal agents’ activity was exclusively kept to the portions of the club where Trump’s office and residence are.
The former president claimed he was a victim of political persecution in a statement that revealed the unannounced search to the public.
‘These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,’ Trump said through his Save America PAC.
‘I stood up to America ‘s bureaucratic corruption, I restored power to the people, and truly delivered for our Country, like we have never seen before.
‘The establishment hated it.
‘Now, as they watch my endorsed candidates win big victories, and see my dominance in all polls, they are trying to stop me, and the Republican Party, once more. The lawlessness, political persecution, and Witch Hunt must be exposed and stopped.’
Trump ‘bragged for years he had intelligence on ”naughty” Macron’s sex life’ – so is THAT what was in file seized from Mar-a-Lago and listed as ‘info re: President of France’?
Donald Trump bragged to some of his closest allies that he had ‘intelligence’ on French President Emmanuel Macron’s sex and love life that he learned during his time as president, a new report reveals.
Two people with knowledge of the matter told Rolling Stone that Trump claimed to have learned about the dirt on Macron through briefings and viewing intelligence, but they admit it was sometimes hard to discern what information was real because he was a gossip.
‘It is often hard to tell if he’s bullsh***ing or not,’ one source said.
Macron, 44, has been married to his wife Brigitte, 69, since 2007.
Nearly 25 years his senior, Brigitte was previously Macron’s teacher before the two got married.
Donald Trump (right) bragged during and after his time in office that he has dirt on French President Emmanuel Macron’s (left) sex and personal life through ‘intelligence’ he received as president. During the raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate earlier this month, the FBI found a document it listed as ‘info re: President of France’
Macron has been married to Brigitte (left) since 2007. Pictured: Brigitte Macron with then-first lady Melania Trump (right) on November 11, 2018 in Versailles, France
After the FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate earlier this month, it released a list of documents seized, including item 1A, which was listed as ‘info re: President of France.’
It is not clear what was on that particular document, if it contained information that was classified or was collected from intelligence or whether it had anything to do with Macron’s personal life.
Sources claim that Trump’s musing about Macron’s behavior did not include details or specifics and were more general accusations of indiscretions.
A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond to a DailyMail.com request for comment.
Stephanie Grisham, who served as Trump’s press secretary at one point, wrote in a memoir that Trump had privately called Macron a ‘a wuss guy’ and ‘a hundred twenty pounds of fury.’
The former U.S. president and French president had a volatile relationship, which included a fallout during Trump’s time in office.
Brigitte, 69, is nearly 25 years older than Emmanuel Macron, 44. They met when she was his teacher. The two are pictured April 24, 2022 after he won a second five-year term as president
Pictured (L-R) Melania Trump, Donald Trump, Emmanuel Macron and Brigitte Macron pose ahead of a working dinner on August 24, 2019 in Biarritz, France during the 45th G7 summit
In the 2017 French presidential race, Trump initially signaled support for Macron’s rival, but that didn’t stop the French president from inviting the U.S. president at the time to be a guest of honor at a Bastille Day parade the same year of his reelection.
During a White House gathering of international ambassadors to the United Nations in 2019, Trump was heard calling Macron a ‘pain in the ass’.
The revelation of the document on Macron rattled France, two other sources familiar with the situation noted.
Trump talking about Macron’s allegedly ‘naughty’ ways that ‘[not] very many people know’ intensified concerns and pushed French and U.S. officials to figure out what the former president had on him, according to the sources.
Specifically, they wanted to know if the document was a national security breach.
But Trump seems much more concerned with Macron’s love and sex life than intelligence details that could potentially pose security concerns.
Macron’s romance with his now-wife began when he was 16-years-old and started seeing his literature and drama teacher at a Catholic high school in Amiens, then Brigitte Auzière.
In his book and political manifesto Revolution, President Macron described the affair as ‘a love often clandestine, often hidden, misunderstood by many before imposing itself.’
Emmanuel Macron started seeing his high school literature and drama teacher when he was a teenager. A 15-year-old Macron is seen kissing his then 40-year-old teacher, then Brigitte Auzière, in a documentary on their unconventional relationship
Brigitte was married with three children when she began an affair with her teenage student Emmanuel Macron.
Her youngest daughter Tiphaine Auzière, now 38, said in a documentary film in 2018 that she was just nine when she learned of the affair and her father, André-Louis Auzière, moved out of the family home in Amiens to go live in Lille.
Despite Macron’s doctor parents asking Brigitte to stop seeing him until he was 18, she said: ‘I can’t promise you anything.’
The two continued seeing each other even after Macron’s parents sent him to Paris to continue his education. Brigitte finally divorced her husband in 2006 and wed Macron in 2017.
The FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on August 8 to recover documents and materials he took from the White House when leaving office last year
This isn’t the first time that Trump has fixated on the sexual and romantic relationships of his rivals.
For example, as Josh Mandel and J.D Vance vied for Trump’s endorsement in the Ohio Senate race, the former president called Mandel’s sex life ‘f***ing weird’, according to a February report.
The same source said Trump ‘has talked about [Mandel] and sex in the same sentence more times than I would have liked to hear.’
Grisham also wrote in her memoir that Trump pulled her aside on Air Force One after seeing Justin Trudeau on TV and made a crass claim about the sex life of the Canadian Prime Minister’s mother.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump also gossiped about MSNBC hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough’s relationship soon before it was public, according to a book by reporters who covered the Trump presidency.
‘You know, nobody else knows about it, but I know about Joe and Mika’s little apartment in the Upper East Side,’ he said.
‘One day, I’ll tell you all about it.’
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