Federal agents in the United States seized materials marked “top secret” in the search Monday of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home.
U.S federal court papers released Friday show that the Federal Bureau of Investigations removed 11 sets of classified records. The records include some that were marked “top secret” and “sensitive compartmented information.” Those classifications are used as identifiers of the nation’s most important secrets. The court records did not provide details about the documents or information they might contain.
Other records taken from Trump’s property were hand-written notes, information about the “President of France,” and other papers marked as secret.
The federal court also released the official government search order that investigators carried out. The search warrant says federal agents were investigating possible violations of three different federal laws under the Espionage Act. The violations can involve gathering, sending or losing information. Hiding, destroying or falsifying records are among other violations under the law.
In a statement earlier Friday, Trump claimed that the documents seized by FBI agents were “all declassified.” The former president also argued that he would have given the documents to the Justice Department if it had asked him.
U.S. law requires that all official presidential records, including letters, notes, emails, and all other written communications are saved and sent to the National Archives.
When Trump left office, he took several presidential records with him to Florida. After several requests from the National Archives, he surrendered 15 boxes of documents in January. Some of the documents were marked “classified.” So, the agency contacted the Justice Department about them.
On Monday, the Justice Department and the FBI seized the records as part of the investigation into the discovery of classified White House records recovered from Trump’s home in Palm Beach, Florida, earlier this year.
Usually, information about search warrants and seized property is kept from the public during an investigation. But the judge who presides over the case opened the documents at the request of Attorney General Merrick Garland, head of the Justice Department.
Garland declared there was “substantial public interest in this matter,” and Trump’s lawyers did not object to the proposal to make it public. In messages posted on his Truth Social website, Trump wrote, “Not only will I not oppose the release of documents ... I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents.”
The former president is already facing legal issues concerning his businesses in New York, and investigations into possible election wrongdoing, and the January 6 attack on Congress.
I'm Caty Weaver.
Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English based on reporting from The Associated Press and Reuters.
Words in This Story
classified - adj. kept secret from all but a few people in the government
compartmented - adj. one of a separate area
warrant - n. a court document that gives law enforcement the power to do something