WASHINGTON — The property receipt for items recovered by FBI agents who searched former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort shows agents recovered a treasure trove of top-secret and other documents highly classified.
Federal agents removed 11 sets of classified documents, including some labeled top secret, according to documents obtained by NBC News. Among the items the FBI took away were a handwritten note, information about the “president of France,” an executive clemency for Trump ally Roger Stone, and photo binders.
A document attached to the search warrant said officers were looking for “all physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, proceeds of crime and other items unlawfully held in violation of” three laws, including a portion of the Espionage Act that the Justice Department describes on its website as a “key national defense and national security” provision. The article cited in the search warrant “applies to activities such as the collection, transmission to an unauthorized person or loss of information relating to national defense and conspiracies to commit such offences.”
The other two laws mentioned in the document attached to the search warrant relate to the improper suppression of documents and the concealment or destruction of documents to hinder investigations.
Court documents said investigators were looking for evidence of the crimes, including “any physical documents with classification marks” and “any government and/or presidential records” from Trump’s time in office, in addition to any evidence of “the alteration, destruction, or concealment of any government and/or presidential records, or any documents bearing classification marks.”
NBC News and other news outlets obtained the documents shortly before a federal judge was expected to authorize their public release.
The Justice Department then filed its opinion that Trump does not object to the unsealing of the search warrant. The judge handling the case has yet to formally rule on the DOJ’s request to unseal the warrant before it is made public.
Trump had said in an overnight statement on his social media platform that he had no objection to releasing the documents to the public.
“Not only will I not oppose the release of materials related to the un-American, unwarranted and unnecessary raid and burglary of my home in Palm Beach, Florida, Mar-a-Lago, but I will go even further by ENCOURAGING the publication of these documents, even though they were written by radical left democrats and possible future political opponents, who have a strong and powerful vested interest in attacking me, just as they have done over the Last 6 years,” Trump said. “Release the documents now!”
In a statement Friday, Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich dismissed the documents’ details of what he called an “outrageous” search and a “botched raid where they seized the president’s picture books, a “handwritten note” and declassified documents.
In a separate statement, Trump said everything he had “was fully declassified.”
Trump and his attorneys have had the search warrant and documents since Monday, but initially resisted calls to release them.
Attorney General Merrick Garland filed a motion Thursday seeking a judge’s approval to release the warrant and property receipt, arguing it was in the public interest to see the records after Trump revealed that the search had taken place on Monday.
Trump received a federal grand jury subpoena last spring for sensitive documents the government believed he kept after he left the White House, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to NBC News on Thursday.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the subpoena was related to documents that Trump’s legal team had discussed with Justice Department officials in a meeting earlier. reported on June 3.
A separate source confirmed an earlier Wall Street Journal report, telling NBC News that “someone familiar” with documents inside Mar-a-Lago told investigators there may have been more classified documents at the club than were originally handed over, which partly led to the search on Monday.
Daniel Barnes contributed.