Donald Trump has lashed out once again over the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago that uncovered classified material, calling the court-approved search a ‘hoax and scam’.
‘Like all of the other Hoaxes and Scams that they’ve used to try and silence the voice of a vast majority of the American People, I have TRUTH on my side, and when you have TRUTH, you will ultimately be victorious,’ Trump wrote Saturday in a post on his Truth Social network.
Trump is under federal investigation for possible violations of the Espionage Act, which makes it unlawful to mishandle classified information, including sharing it with people not authorized to receive it, a search warrant made public on Friday showed.
FBI agents searched Mar-a-Lago earlier this week and removed 11 sets of classified documents, including some marked as top secret, according to the Justice Department.
Trump addressed the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago in a post on his Truth Social website
Donald Trump has lashed out once again over the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago that uncovered classified material, calling the court-approved search a ‘hoax and scam’
An aerial view of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate is seen earlier this week. The FBI searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate as part of an investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to his Florida residence
Earlier on Saturday, a report claimed that Trump’s attorney signed a statement in June that said all classified material held at Mar-a-Lago had been already been returned to the government.
Trump’s legal team gave the assurance after Jay Bratt, the Department of Justice’s counterintelligence chief, visited Trump’s South Florida beach club on June 3, the New York Times reported.
Bratt met with two Trump lawyers to discuss the handling of classified information during the visit, the newspaper said.
It appears that in signing a declaration that all classified documents had been removed from Mar-a-Lago, his lawyers sparked the DOJ’s decision to conduct the search on Monday.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The former president insisted Friday that everything at Mar-a-Lago was ‘declassified’ and agents ‘didn’t need to seize anything.’
Trump returned 15 boxes of material in January this year, with his lawyers telling the DOJ that all material had been returned to the government in June after meeting with officials
Some of the documents were marked ‘top secret’ and are meant to be kept in specialized government facilities, according to a copy of the warrant.
The FBI would have needed to prove reasonable suspicion that Trump committed a crime in holding on to the documents – criminal statutes cited in the warrant include espionage, removal of records and obstruction of justice.
It appears that in signing the declaration that all of the documents had been removed, his lawyers sparked the DOJ’s decision to conduct the search on Monday.
In an attempt to resolve the dispute, Bratt and other officials visited the Florida home and spoke with Trump and two of his lawyers – Evan Corcoran and Christina Bobb.
Last year it was discovered that Trump had taken dozens of documents and government material with him when he left office in January 2021.
The material was supposed to have been sent to the archives under the terms of the Presidential Records Act.
He then returned 15 boxes of material in January this year, which was examined and found to be classified information.
That sparked the investigation with the DOJ and FBI, and Trump was advised to return any other documents that he had retained.
His team then signed the declaration that all the material had been removed in June, before a raid by the FBI on Monday which found further documents.
A spokesman for the former president, Taylor Budowich, said on Saturday, ‘Just like every Democrat-fabricated witch hunt previously, the water of this unprecedented and unnecessary raid is being carried by a media willing to run with suggestive leaks, anonymous sources and no hard facts.’
The search warrant stated that FBI agents carried out the search to look for evidence related to the possible violations of the Espionage Act.
Violations of the Espionage Act could include: harboring or concealing persons, gathering, transmitting or losing defense information, gathering or delivering defense information to aid a foreign government, or disclosure of classified information.
The 11 sensitive items included miscellaneous documents labeled ‘secret,’ ‘top secret’ and ‘confidential.’
Agents recovered 20 boxes in total from the Florida estate, with the rest including handwritten notes, photo binders, the grant of clemency of Roger Stone and a file with information on the President of France.
DailyMail.com obtained a copy of the warrant and receipts before it was unsealed by a Florida magistrate judge Friday afternoon.
The warrant gave FBI agents permission to search in Trump’s office and all storage areas on the premises, and states four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents, and three sets of confidential documents were retrieved.
Trump’s attorneys now also claim former President Trump declassified the documents before he left office.
A president has the power to declassify any document, but there is a strict federal procedure for doing so.
A member of the Secret Service is seen in front of the home of former President Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida on Tuesday, the day after the resort was searched
Trump declared Friday afternoon that everything in his possession was declassified.
He claimed agents could have had the documents ‘LONG ago’ if they had just asked, adding: ‘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. It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request.
‘They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago. ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK.’
The search and seizure warrant, signed by Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, allowed for a search of ‘the 45 office’ and ‘all storage rooms and all other rooms or areas within the premises used or available to be used by [the former president] and his staff and in which boxes or documents could be stored, including all structures or buildings on the estate.’
The warrant was signed on August 5, and the raid was conducted three days later on August 8.
The warrant further reads that ‘property to be seized’ includes ‘All physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime or other items illegally possessed in violation.
‘Any physical documents with classification markings, along with any containers/boxes (including any other contents) in which such documents are locations, as well as any other containers/boxes that are collectively stored or found together with the aforementioned documents and containers/boxes.’
The warrant then broadly allows for the seizure of any official record from Trump’s presidency.
Though the warrant has been released, the government does not yet have plans to release the affidavit used to apply for to the warrant, which they fear could reveal much more information about the ongoing investigation.