13th August 2022 – (Hong Kong) A U.S. judge unsealed the search warrant on Friday afternoon for former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
The move came in the aftermath of the “raid” by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents of the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday.
The warrant showed federal investigators had been authorized to seize any physical documents with classification markings, as well as information “regarding the retrieval, storage, or transmission of national defense information or classified material.”
It also allowed the agents to take any government records created during the Trump presidency and “any evidence of the knowing alteration, destruction, or concealment of any government and/or Presidential Records, or of any documents with classification markings.”
A “receipt for property” included 33 seized items, including 11 sets of documents described either as “classified/TS/SCI,” “top secret,” “secret,” or “confidential.”
The warrant also listed three potential criminal violations — concealment or removal of federal records, destruction or alteration of records in a federal investigation, and transmitting defense information.
Trump issued a statement on Friday, claiming that the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago had all “declassified” while accusing the U.S. Department of Justice of “playing politics.”
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland told reporters on Thursday that he personally “approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter.”
“The department does not take such a decision lightly,” Garland said. “Where possible, it is standard practice to seek less intrusive means as an alternative to a search and to narrowly scope any search that is undertaken.”
Trump has been alleged to have taken classified materials from the White House to Mar-a-Lago, when the Republican left office in January 2021.
The Presidential Records Act requires that all records created by presidents be turned over to the National Archives at the end of their administrations.
Some of the Trump presidential records received by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) included paper records that had been torn up by Trump, according to the federal agency.
In January, the NARA also arranged for the transport from the Mar-a-Lago to the National Archives of 15 boxes that contained presidential records.