Classified Government documents found in Donald Trump’s office at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida


The FBI found a document on a foreign government’s military defenses, during the search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort on August 8.

The revelation highlights the highly-sensitive, top-secret documents that Trump took from the White House to Florida, keeping it in unsecured locations. “People familiar with the matter” say some detail US “special-access programs”, so closely guarded that many senior national security officials do not know about them. As few as two dozen Government officials may be authorized to see the material.

Any person reading these documents requires not only top-secret clearance but also special clearances on a need-to-know basis. The memoranda are kept in a secure compartmented information facility, with a designated control officer to monitor their location.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is conducting a risk assessment, evaulating the potential harm of Trump’s removal of the documents from government custody.

That assessment is not affected by Monday’s order by Trump-appointed Federal District Judge Aileen Cannon accepting the demand of Trump lawyers for a “special master” to review all the documents. Cannon suspended the Justice Department’s investigation of Trump’s potential crimes until the special matter completes the review.

See also Trump Gets Delay in Justice with “Special Master” to Review Stolen Classified Documents


The FBI inventory of items taken from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort on August 8 raise the question of whether classified documents are still missing.

The inventory indicates there were 48 empty folders which were marked as containing classified information. Another 40 empty folders contained sensitive documents that the user should “return to staff secretary/military aide”.

Agents found seven documents marked as “top secret” in Trump’s office and 11 more in a storage room.

The Justice Department’s filing noted that the inquiry into Mr. Trump’s handling of the documents remained “an active criminal investigation”. Prosecutors noted that the Department’s review of is just “a single investigative step”: “The investigative team will continue to use and evaluate the seized materials as it takes further investigative steps, such as through additional witness interviews and grand jury practice.

The list of items, seized in the FBI’s execution of a search warrant, was unsealed on Friday pursuant to the order of a federal judge.

Judge Aileen Cannon is considering the motion of Trump’s lawyers for a “special master” to review the materials.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: The Justice Department says US Government documents were “likely concealed and removed” from a storage room at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

In a 36-page court filing on Tuesday night, the Department said the concealment is part of an effort to “obstruct” the FBI investigation into Trump’s potential mishandling of classified materials.

More than 320 classified documents have now been recovered from Mar-a-Lago, the Justice Department said. More than 100 are from the FBI’s execution of a search warrant on August 8.

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Justice Department Releases Affidavit Behind Trump Search Warrant

The Department’s filing is for a court hearing into Trump’s effort to draw out the investigation through the appointment of a “special master” for the case.

The Government provides below a detailed recitation of the relevant facts, many of which are provided to correct the incomplete and inaccurate narrative set forth in Plaintiff’s [Trump’s] filings….

Appointment of a special master would impede the government’s ongoing criminal investigation and — if the special master were tasked with reviewing classified documents — would impede the Intelligence Community from conducting its ongoing review of the national security risk that improper storage of these highly sensitive materials may have caused and from identifying measures to rectify or mitigate any damage that improper storage caused.

Read the Justice Department Filing

The document sets out how Trump failed to return scores of classified documents from Mar-a-Lago, even after his lawyer attested that the former President had provided all classified material in his possession in January and on June 3. A photo shows documents, with classification markings such as “HCS” [Human Confidential Sources], laid out on the floor of Trump’s office after they were found in boxes in the room.

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.

Prosecutors said some material was likely removed just before before Trump’s lawyers examined the storage area in June, after a grand jury subpoena required the handover of any remaining classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

While Justice Department and FBI officials were allowed to visit the storage area, Trump’s lawyer prevented them from opening or looking inside any of the boxes that remained in the storage room.

The Department emphasized that Trump has no authority to possess Presidential records “because those records do not belong to him…The United States [has] complete ownership, possession, and control”.

It also took apart the falsehood that Trump declassified the material — including at least 25 documents with “Top Secret” designation — before he left office in January 2021.

When producing the documents, neither counsel nor the custodian asserted that the former President had declassified the documents or asserted any claim of executive privilege.

Instead, counsel handled them in a manner that suggested counsel believed that the documents were classified.

When the FBI conducted a preliminary review of an envelope given to them by Trump’s lawyer, agents found “38 unique documents bearing classification markings, including 5 documents marked as CONFIDENTIAL, 16 documents marked as SECRET, and 17 documents marked as TOP SECRET. Further, the FBI agents observed markings reflecting sensitive compartments and dissemination controls.”

Trump faces possible prosecution in three areas over the removal of the documents from the White House: 1) violation of the Presidential Records Act, with a penalty of up to five years in prison; 2) obstruction of a Government investigation; and 3) violation of national security laws, including the Espionage Act.

Trump’s lawyers have until 8 p.m. Wednesday to file a response. Both sides will present arguments on Thursday before US District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, in the federal courthouse in West Palm Beach, Florida.