Federal agents took about a dozen boxes from Mar-a-Lago, Trump lawyer says
Federal agents removed about a dozen boxes of materials from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate and issued a warrant indicating the search pertained to possible violations surrounding classified information and the Presidential Records Act, a Trump lawyer confirmed to POLITICO on Tuesday.
News of the specifics of the search were first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which wrote that agents walked away with roughly 10 boxes of material after the Monday search.
The details add an additional layer of intrigue to a storyline that has sparked outrage among Trump allies and raised eyebrows within the legal community. The former president has called the search unprecedented and politically motivated. But experts on national security law have cautioned that the FBI would not have undertaken such a high-stakes move without firm belief that a possible criminal violation was at issue.
Trump lawyer Christina Bobb fleshed out other details surrounding the case. She said that Florida magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart signed off on the warrant that allowed FBI agents to search the Trump residence in Florida. Agents searched multiple areas of the property, Bobb told POLITICO, but she could not verify where the materials were confiscated from. Lindsey Halligan, another Trump attorney, also confirmed to POLITICO she was present at Mar-a-Lago for the search.
Evan Corcoran, a lawyer who is also representing Trump in matters related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and represents Trump ally Steve Bannon, is the lead attorney for the former president’s team.
Corcoran did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The search of Trump’s expansive residence took hours on Monday. The former president was not at Mar-a-Lago during the search but at Trump Tower in New York, POLITICO reported. His son Eric Trump informed him of the FBI’s search of his property.
As Trump battles multiple legal threats, including the Jan. 6 select committee’s growing case against him and his inner circle, the investigation of the former president’s handling of presidential records has largely remained in the background.
In February, the National Archives and Record Administration confirmed it had recovered 15 boxes of records from his West Palm Beach home in January, including some documents marked as “classified national security information.” The Archives at the time also confirmed it had “ongoing communications” with Trump’s teams about locating missing presidential records and had been in contact with the Justice Department since classified information was identified among the recovered material.
In the 24 hours since FBI officials searched his property, few details have surfaced about why federal agents took this unprecedented step beyond the well-known questions about Trump’s handling of presidential records when he left the Oval Office. Amid the lack of answers, Trump’s defenders have written off the Justice Department and the FBI as partisan bodies being weaponized by Democrats — as Republicans call for the agencies to provide an explanation for the search.
Trump is likely best positioned to provide the details his allies are asking for. He has access to not only the items federal agents were looking for on Monday, but also to what was taken from his property. His lawyers likely have a copy of the search warrant, though they won’t have access to the affidavit or other documents that are typically kept confidential until the case is resolved. Plus, Trump could speak to the nature of the potentially classified material, and whether he made an effort to declassify these items before leaving the White House.
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