Yesterday, Attorney General Merrick Garland spoke from the Justice Department. He said that the agency had filed a motion to unseal the search warrant and the property receipt, pending the approval of President Trump. Later Thursday, President Trump took to social media to say that he did indeed want the paperwork unsealed. On Friday evening, the warrant and receipt were made public.
What has been made public is a heavily redacted property receipt; Fox News’ Jonathan Surrey says that this is due to the items being of a classified nature.
The FBI also said that they seized classified materials at Mar-a-Lago. Some are said to have been marked as “top secret.”
Donald Trump maintains that these documents were stored in a room that was padlocked per the request of the National Archives. Also, there is still a question of why the investigators felt that the previous cooperation between Trump’s legal team and the National Archives was no longer present.
Fox’s Shannon Bream mentioned that the original search warrant, signed at noon on August 5, gave a deadline for the raid of August 19. However, when the FBI arrived, it was the following Monday (barely 72 hours later); thirty agents were inside Mar-a-Lago going through the office, bedroom, and the storage room. Reinhart ordered that the search take place during the daytime, between 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM.
Jonathan Turley, professor at George Mason University, says that there could be some confusion regarding the declassification of these documents. Trump says everything he had stored at Mar-a-Lago had been declassified before he left office. At the same time, when questioning the urgency of the raid, Fox Business’ Charles Payne noted that the former president had these documents in his possession for nineteen months. The main question left for many Americans is – “why now?”
What citizens want to see is the affidavit provided to Judge Reinhart; this would be more specific in what evidence the DOJ had presented in order to be granted the search warrant. It is unknown if this can be unsealed or if a federal court would grant such a request.
President Trump has said that he had previously declassified all documents on his property in Florida. President Trump said on social media that he would have given these documents to the government at any time without the need for the raid.
The search warrant read: “The locations to be searched include the 45 Office, all storage rooms, and all other rooms or areas within the premises used or available to be used by FPOTUS and his staff and in which boxes or documents could be stored, including all structures or buildings on the estate.”
The warrant also gave agents the ability to seize “all physical documents and records constituting evidence. Fox News is reporting that the agents took twenty boxes. One box was marked “various classified/TS/SCI documents.”
It’s important to remember that many political pundits have stated that when one president leaves the White House, the moving out process is a bit chaotic. Some news outlets are stating that the GSA (the General Services Administration) packed the boxes and shipped them to Mar-a-Lago after Trump left office.
While the property receipt does not itemize the exact items seized, it does list the following:
- four sets of top secret documents
- three sets of secret documents
- three sets of confidential documents
However, the property list also included the following items: binders of photos, handwritten notes, and other miscellaneous documents.
Trump posted on Truth Social: “Number one, it was all declassified. Number two, they didn’t need to seize anything. They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago.”
Trump also posted that he had complied with the request to put a more secure lock on the storage room where the items were stored.
Taylor Budowich, a spokesperson for the Trump family, said “The Biden Administration is in obvious damage control after the botched raid.”