The FBI searched Mar-a-Lago for classified nuclear weapons documents

The FBI searched Mar-a-Lago for classified nuclear weapons documents

The FBI searched Mar a Lago for classified nuclear weapons documents

Such a decision “is not taken lightly,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Thursday. He was referring to the search of Donald Trump’s mansion, a decision unprecedented in United States history. And the parts are starting to fit. As the Washington Post revealed this Thursday afternoon, FBI agents raided Mar-a-Lago looking for classified nuclear weapons documents that the former president would have taken there and failed to return after being asked to do so.

The details are still minimal in reality. The newspaper’s sources in the US capital, who speak on condition of anonymity, do not clarify whether the documents are related to the US nuclear arsenal or another country’s nuclear weapons. They also don’t explain whether the agents who searched Trump’s villa for hours found what they were looking for. Neither the Justice Department, nor the FBI, nor Donald Trump have dispelled the doubts. This explains the fear that these documents could fall into the wrong hands.

The search warrant could bring light into the darkness. The Justice Department has filed a motion with the South Florida court for release, along with some attachments and the receipt listing the documents seized. Garland’s office did not request that the affidavit be released, the reasoned petition requesting registration and which could confirm whether it is true, as Newsweek revealed, and later confirmed by other US media outlets, that the information about the documentary Trump’s homeland came from a tip, presumably from someone close to him.

Trump has the option to make the search warrant and receipt public, but he hasn’t done so now. And the prosecutor conditions its publication so that the former president does not object. But refusing to do so will weaken his supporters’ urgent pleas for explanations.

In requesting the judge to make the search warrant public, a five-page document, the Justice Department argues that although it originally asked that the search warrant and its attachments be kept secret, the search has now been conducted, Trump has disclosed so conducted and their representatives have publicly commented on the materials sought. “The public’s clear and strong interest in understanding what happened under the circumstances makes a strong case for solving the mystery,” the letter concludes.

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“My lawyers and representatives have been fully co-operative and very good relationships have been developed. The government could have what they wanted if we had it,” Trump said on his social network this Thursday. The problem is that the National Archives had already contacted Trump to claim the documentation and a subsequent request had also been made and the FBI continued to suspect that Trump had not returned the papers, including those with classified content, as now the Washington Post revealed with information on nuclear weapons. Trump did not immediately respond to the release of this new information.

The political assessment of what happened, whether the search was proportionate or not, will depend heavily on the outcome. As much as the FBI had information from an informant and eventually found some presidential documents, it will be difficult to argue that the search of a former president’s home was warranted when they were inconsequential. On the other hand, if secret documents appeared in the register, which in any way touched on national security, which were classified as confidential and which the former President apparently kept in his possession after more than a year and a half’s absence, violated the law and after repeated efforts by the authorities, regaining them, it will be very difficult to defend their position.

As for criminal proceedings, it’s another matter. Merely possessing these documents could be considered a criminal offense under US law. But the decision to formally indict Trump and try to bring him to justice is a decision of far greater importance than the search, which has already caused a massive political earthquake and increased political polarization in the United States. It is, of course, another decision that should not be taken lightly.

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