Top Senator Wants ‘Briefing’ on Trump Mar-a-Lago Documents

Top Senator Wants ‘Briefing’ on Trump Mar-a-Lago Documents
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) in Washington on Jan. 30, 2020. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
Jack Phillips

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) says that the Senate Intelligence Committee, which he chairs, needs to obtain a briefing on the documents taken from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.

“If some of these documents involved human intelligence, and that information got out, people will die,” Warner claimed in an interview with CBS “Face the Nation“ that aired on Sept. 11. ”If there’s intelligence that has been shared with us by allies, and that is mishandled, all of that could be in jeopardy.”

Neither the Department of Justice (DOJ) nor the FBI has elaborated on what documents were taken during the Aug. 8 raid. Prosecutors with the DOJ, in a heavily redacted affidavit that was unsealed last month, wrote there was “probable cause” to believe that allegedly classified materials remained at Mar-a-Lago and included a photo that purported to show “TOP SECRET” documents strewn about the floor of Trump’s Florida home.

In social media posts, Trump said the “TOP SECRET” documents that appeared in a released photo may have been planted. The former commander-in-chief also indicated that the seized documents may have been declassified while he was still president, pointing to a memorandum that he issued declassifying some FBI Crossfire Hurricane material.
“Now, we don’t know what’s in those documents,” Warner conceded, adding that “it is essential that the intelligence committee leadership at least gets a briefing of the damage assessment.”

Special Master

Among other items, Trump said FBI agents took personal and medical records, tax files, and even his passports during the raid. The former president, who also has accused the bureau of searching former First Lady Melania Trump’s closet and clothing, said officials within the DOJ have leaked information to the mainstream media about the case.

A federal judge in Florida, Aileen Cannon, last week sided with Trump’s lawyers last week and ordered the appointment of a special master to review the documents, which the DOJ sought to block. On Sept. 9, Trump and the DOJ submitted their special master candidates to Cannon.

Cannon, in concurring with Trump’s lawyers, wrote that she has concerns about possible DOJ leaks and said such disclosures would cause damage to Trump.

Lawyers for the DOJ indicated the agency will appeal Cannon’s ruling on the special master, arguing that the hundreds of documents that were acquired from Mar-a-Lago can’t be shielded by executive privilege, since Trump is no longer in office. Those materials, they said in a notification (pdf) on Sept. 8, are not Trump’s “personal records,” and he has no legal right to have them.

Warner signaled to CBS that “once we get clarification from the judge in Florida,” the Intelligence Committee will make a decision.

“I do not think we should have as- as the Intelligence Committee, a briefing on the ongoing investigation,” he said. “What our responsibility is, is to assess whether there has been damage done to our intelligence collection and maintenance of secrets capacity. That is a damage assessment, that frankly, even the judge in Florida has said, can continue.”

Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X:
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