Department of Justice prosecutors argued that they believe there was “probable cause” that allegedly classified documents and materials were kept at former President Donald Trump’s Florida home before the unprecedented FBI raid on Aug. 8, an affidavit released Friday shows.
In a heavily redacted section (pdf) of the affidavit, Department of Justice prosecutors asserted that “there is probable cause to believe that documents containing classified ND and presidential records remain at the premises,” referring to Mar-a-Lago. And because of the redactions, it’s unclear what allegedly classified documents and presidential records were being kept there and why the Department of Justice believed it is necessary to raid a former president’s home for those materials.
“Accordingly, this affidavit seeks authorization to search the ’45 Office’ and all storage rooms and any other rooms or locations where boxes or records may be stored within the PREMISES,” the legal document stated.
It added: “The PREMISES is currently closed to club members for the summer; however, as specified in Attachment A, if at the time of the search, there are areas of the PREMISES being occupied, rented, or used by third parties, and not otherwise used or available to be used by FPOTUS and his staff, the search would not include such areas.”
Ultimately, U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who unsealed the affidavit, approved a search warrant for Trump’s property earlier this month.
Former White House aide Kash Patel recently revealed that the allegedly classified materials that were taken had to do with the FBI’s 2016 Crossfire Hurricane investigation that ultimately turned up no evidence to support allegations that Trump colluded with the Russian government to win that year’s election.
“The bottom line was he said this information has to get out to the American public,” Patel told The Wall Street Journal. Patel said he didn’t know specifically what was in the boxes that FBI agents took from Trump’s home.
Those documents, he added, “had to do with Russiagate. It had to do with the Hillary email scandal. It had to do with a whole lot of other stuff.”
“And [Trump] said, ‘This is all declassified,’” Patel said, challenging central arguments made by the Justice Department that urgent action had to be taken because sensitive material was at risk.
So far, neither the Justice Department nor the FBI has offered an explanation to news outlets on why the FBI agents searched Trump’s home or what exactly they were looking for.
A warrant and property receipt that were unsealed by Reinhart days after the raid show that agents took 11 boxes of allegedly classified documents. The warrant indicates that Trump is being probed for possible Espionage Act violations and obstruction of justice.
Days after the raid, Trump posted on his Truth Social page that, when president, he declassified a range of documents relating to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. In one instance, he pointed to an archived link of a declassification order he issued on Jan. 19, 2021, the day before he left office.