Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday issued a response to a new court filing from the Department of Justice (DOJ) that appeared to show allegedly classified materials scattered on the floor during the FBI Mar-a-Lago raid early in August.
The image appears to show six documents labeled “top secret” and several that were labeled “secret,” which was included at the bottom of a legal brief filed late Tuesday that argued against the appointment of a special master to review the materials first. Federal authorities say those materials were classified, but Trump has repeatedly said he declassified them while in office.
“Terrible the way the FBI, during the Raid of Mar-a-Lago, threw documents haphazardly all over the floor (perhaps pretending it was me that did it!),” Trump wrote Wednesday on Truth Social, “and then started taking pictures of them for the public to see.”
“Thought they wanted them kept Secret?” he asked. “Lucky I Declassified!”
Around the same time, Trump again questioned anonymously sourced reporting from The Washington Post and other legacy media earlier this month. Those outlets claimed that nuclear secrets may have been recovered during the FBI raid on his Florida home, although the DOJ did not mention that in the heavily redacted affidavit and also has not publicly commented on those allegations.
“Whatever happened to NUCLEAR, a word that was leaked early on by the FBI/DOJ to the Fake News Media!” Trump wrote, suggesting that officials inside the federal government fabricated the claim and passed it on to mainstream media outlets.
About 100 unique documents that were allegedly marked classified were taken during the search, government lawyers wrote Tuesday.
“Certain of the documents had colored cover sheets indicating their classification status,” prosecutors said. “The classification levels ranged from CONFIDENTIAL to TOP SECRET information, and certain documents included additional sensitive compartments that signify very limited distribution.”
Earlier in August, Trump filed a motion to request a special master, or a neutral third party, to examine the documents. Government lawyers, however, said that officials have already carried out a preliminary review of the materials that were taken from Trump’s home, and they said in a motion issued last week that some attorney-client privileged materials may have been taken.
Trump’s staff, the DOJ also said, blocked the FBI from looking at documents in a Mar-a-Lago storage facility after classified material was turned over to them earlier this year.
“As the former President’s filing indicates, the FBI agents and DOJ attorney were permitted to visit the storage room. See D.E. 1 at 5-6. Critically, however, the former President’s counsel explicitly prohibited government personnel from opening or looking inside any of the boxes that remained in the storage room, giving no opportunity for the government to confirm that no documents with classification markings remained,” prosecutors wrote Tuesday.
A lawyer for Trump indicated Tuesday in a Fox News interview that his team will likely challenge the legality of the raid of his home based on the Fourth Amendment, which bars the government from carrying out unreasonable searches and seizures.