What was in the Trump Mar-a-Lago search affidavit?

The document provides new details about the sheer volume of sensitive and top-secret information being stored at the former president’s Florida home.

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Friday unsealed the FBI’s affidavit justifying the unprecedented search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. While the released document is heavily redacted, with many of its 32 pages crossed out in black blocks, it includes new details about the sheer volume of sensitive and top-secret information stored at the former president’s Florida beach house, raising government concerns emphasizes its safety.

Here are the key takeaways from the document:


While the affidavit does not provide new details about the 11 sets of classified records seized during the FBI’s Aug. 8 search of Trump’s winter residence, it helps explain why the Justice Department believed retrieval of the pending documents was necessary.

Federal investigators knew months before the search that Trump had kept top-secret government records at Mar-a-Lago, a private club open to not only Trump, his associates and family but also paying members and their guests, along with a revolving door by participants at various events, including weddings, paid political fundraisers, and charity galas.

The affidavit notes that the Mar-a-Lago storage areas, Trump’s office, his living suite and other areas at the club where documents are believed to still be kept were not authorized locations for the storage of classified information. Indeed, it notes that no room in Mar-a-Lago has been authorized for the storage of classified information since at least the end of Trump’s term in office.

But the affidavit reveals that of the 15 boxes the National Archives and Records Administration removed from Trump’s home in January, 14 contained documents with classification marks. Inside, they found 184 documents with classification marks, including 67 confidential, 92 secret, and 25 top secret.

The Archives referred the matter to the Justice Department on Feb. 9 after a preliminary examination of the boxes found what they described as “many classified records.”

RELATED: DOJ releases redacted affidavit justifying FBI search of Mar-a-Lago


Agents who inspected the boxes found special markings that suggested they contained information from highly sensitive human sources or the collection of electronic “signals” approved by a court under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The affidavit lists several markings, including ORCON, or “Originator Controlled.” That means Secret Service officials responsible for the report didn’t want it released to other agencies without their permission.

There may also be other types of records with secret names or code words that are still redacted.

“When things are classified at that level, it’s because there’s real danger to the people who are gathering the information or the skills,” said Douglas London, a former senior CIA officer who wrote a book about the agency hat, “The Recruiter. ”

RELATED: Trump’s affidavit revealed 184 documents had classified markings, here’s what they mean

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has not responded to requests from Congress for a damage assessment. Senator Mark Warner, the Virginia Democrat who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, issued a statement again requesting a briefing.

“Based on the affidavit unsealed this morning, it appears that among the mishandled documents at Mar-a-Lago was some of our most sensitive information,” Warner said.


Some of these secret records were mixed up with other documents, the affidavit said, citing a letter from the archives.

According to the White House Liaison Director of Archives, the boxes contained “newspapers, magazines, printed news articles, photographs, miscellaneous prints, notes, presidential correspondence, personal and post-presidential records, and ‘many classified records.’ Several contained what appeared to be handwritten notes from Trump.

Of paramount importance: “Highly classified records have been unfolded, commingled with other records, and otherwise improperly (sic) identified.”

A president might be given raw intelligence reports to supplement his briefings or to provide coverage of a red-hot or extremely important matter, David Priess, a former CIA officer and White House briefing officer, told The President’s Book of Secrets, a history of the President’s Daily, wrote Knapp.

But it would be “unusual, if not unprecedented, for a president to keep it and mix it up with other papers,” he said.

“While I was prepared for this because I knew the judge wouldn’t authorize a search based on trivial matters, the breadth and depth of the careless handling of classified information is truly shocking,” Priess said.


The affidavit reiterates that Trump had numerous options for returning the documents to the government, but simply chose not to.

A lengthy process of retrieving the documents had essentially been underway since Trump left the White House. The document says the archives made an inquiry about the missing records on or about May 6, 2021 “and continued to make inquiries until about the end of December 2021” when it was informed that 12 boxes had been found and collected by the club could become.

The affidavit clarifies that the Justice Department’s criminal investigation not only concerns the improper removal and storage of classified information in unauthorized locations and the possible unlawful concealment or removal of government files, but that investigators “probably had reason to believe that evidence for a disability” would be found in their search.

Trump’s attorney, in a letter accompanying the release, had argued with the Justice Department that presidents have “absolute” authority to declassify documents and claimed that his “constitutional authority over the classification and declassification of documents is unrestricted.” Trump has not presented any evidence that the documents at Mar-a-Lago were declassified before leaving Washington.

RELATED: Yes, the president can release documents, but there’s no set protocol they must follow

Trump says he ‘did nothing wrong’

Trump has long insisted, despite clear evidence to the contrary, that he is fully cooperating with government officials and has every right to have the documents on the ground. On his social media page, he responded to the unsealing by continuing to denigrate law enforcement.

Calling it a “total PR subterfuge by the FBI and the Justice Department,” he said, “WE GAVE THEM A LOT.” In another post, he offered just two words: “WITCH HUNT!!!”

In an interview on Lou Dobbs’ The Great America Show on Thursday, he said he did nothing wrong.

“This is a political attack on our country and a disgrace,” he added. “It’s a shame.”

https://www.king5.com/article/news/nation-world/mar-a-lago-search-affidavit-takeaways/507-295a8991-3808-47e7-b5e7-826ffc9993ab What was in the Trump Mar-a-Lago search affidavit?

Alley Einstein

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