DOJ releases affidavit showing FBI collected 184 sensitive documents at Mar-a-Lago before raid

FBI agents raided Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8

Published: August 26, 2022 9:33am

Updated: August 26, 2022 2:32pm

The redacted affidavit released Friday by the Justice Department related to the recent FBI raid on former President Trump's Florida estate shows the agency in part made their case to return Aug. 8 by saying agents had already sorted through 184 sensitive documents from Mar-a-Lago earlier this year.

This is a developing story...

"The FBI's investigation has established that documents bearing classification markings, which appear to contain National Defense Information (NDI), were among the materials contained in the FIFTEEN BOXES and were stored at the PREMISES in an unauthorized location," the affidavit said.

"There is probable cause to believe that additional documents that contain classified NDI or that are Presidential records subject to record retention requirements currently remain at the PREMISES," the affidavit continued, following redactions. "There is also probable cause to believe that evidence of obstruction will be found at the PREMISES."

Documents retrieved earlier this year from Mar-A-Lago included "184 unique documents bearing classification markings, including 67 documents marked as CONFIDENTIAL, 92 documents marked as SECRET, and 25 documents marked as TOP SECRET," according to the affidavit. "Further, the FBI agents observed markings reflecting the following compartments/dissemination controls: HCS, FISA, ORCON, NOFORN, and SI. Based on my training and experience, I know that documents classified at these levels typically contain NDI. Several of the documents also contained what appears to be FPOTUS's handwritten notes." 

Trump reacted to the release of the affidavit on his Truth Social account Friday afternoon, saying, "Affidavit heavily redacted!!! Nothing mentioned on 'Nuclear,' a total public relations subterfuge by the FBI & DOJ, or our close working relationship regarding document turnover - WE GAVE THEM MUCH.

"Judge Bruce Reinhart should NEVER have allowed the Break-In of my home," Trump continued. "He recused himself two months ago from one of my cases based on his animosity and hatred of your favorite President, me. What changed? Why hasn't he recused himself on this case? Obama must be very proud of him right now!"

A judge ordered the redacted document released.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart wrote in the order, "I find that the government has met its burden of showing a compelling reason/good cause to seal portions of the affidavit," and added that the redacted portions were needed for protecting witnesses, agents, and parties who were not charged, in addition to the strategy and scope of the probe.

The department blacked out the names of witnesses and agents to protect them and the agency's investigation, but the document, which allowed for the warrant in the unprecedented Aug. 8 raid at Mar-a-Lago, is expected to provide at least some new details.

In acknowledging the extraordinary public interest in the investigation, Reinhart on Thursday ordered the department by Friday to make public a redacted version of the affidavit, according to the Associated Press.

The judge's directive came hours after federal law enforcement officials submitted under seal the portions of the affidavit that they want to keep secret as their investigation moves forward, the wire service also reports.

Last week, Reinhart ordered the department to make the redactions and said he would make revisions if unsatisfied with federal lawyers' efforts.

Trump posted on his Truth Social account on Friday morning, criticizing the raid on his home prior to the affidavit release.

"The political Hacks and Thugs had no right under the Presidential Records Act to storm Mar-a-Lago and steal everything in sight, including Passports and privileged documents," Trump wrote. "They even broke into my safe with a safecracker - Can you believe? This Act was created for a very good reason, and it works. We are right now living in a Lawless Country, that just so happens to be, also, a Failing Nation!"

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