Three classified documents were found in a desk drawer in Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago office, the Justice Department revealed in a Blockbuster filing, in addition to more than 100 documents discovered in 13 boxes with classification marks at the former president’s residence .
The documents were discovered in the August raid on Trump’s Florida home, which came after the former president’s attorneys claimed a “diligent search” turned up all the requested documents.
“Three classified documents that were not in boxes but in Office 45 desks were also confiscated,” the filing said.
The DoJ’s 54-page filing, released late Tuesday night, was the administration’s response to Trump’s request for an independent review of materials seized in August’s raid by federal agents on his Palm Beach home.
It outlines the numerous steps the administration has taken to recover the records Trump took from the White House, which are owned by the federal government. Presidents are required by law to turn them over to the national archives upon termination of office.
It makes clear that the raid took place on August 8 after numerous other attempts to recover the records had failed and law enforcement suspected other documents remained at the property.
The administration also explained its suspicions that Trump and his team were attempting to obstruct their investigation.
“The government has also developed evidence that government files were likely hidden and removed from storage and that efforts were likely made to obstruct the government’s investigation,” the filing reads.
Three classified documents were found in a desk drawer in Donald Trump’s office in Mar-a-Lago during the August raid, the Justice Department said
A photo of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago office was released in April 2021 by Adjutant Stephen Miller
The timeline above shows just some of former President Donald Trump’s struggles with the national archives since leaving office, including an independent court battle with the Jan. 6 committee
The file includes an extraordinary photograph showing papers – many of which are marked “top secret” – on the carpet at Donald Trump’s Florida mansion.
The photo shows the covers of some secret documents bound in paper clips.
Some were marked “TOP SECRET//SCI” with bright yellow borders, and one was marked “SECRET//SCI” with a rust-colored border.
There were also ones with white pages and a box full of gold-framed pictures, including a Time magazine cover.
Trump criticized the FBI for releasing the photo, repeating his argument that he declassified all the documents he took from the White House.
“Terrifying how during the Mar-a-Lago raid the FBI threw documents on the ground at random (maybe as if it was me!) and then started photographing them for the public to see. Did you think they wanted to keep it a secret? Lucky I Declassified! he wrote on his social media account Truth on Wednesday.
Trump returned 15 boxes of documents to the archives in January. It was discovered that these boxes contained secret documents, sparking an investigation.
That investigation led to a May 11 subpoena in which Justice Department attorneys requested the return of all materials marked as classified.
On June 3, Trump’s team turned over 38 additional documents with secret markings to FBI officials, including 17 marked as top secret.
However, one of Trump’s lawyers present at Mar-a-Lago that day “specifically forbade government personnel from opening or looking inside the boxes remaining in the storage room and gave the government no opportunity to confirm that there were no documents with non-disclosure markings.” are stayed,” the filing says.
And a Trump attorney, identified by The New York Times as Christina Bobb, claimed all documents requested by subpoena were returned to the government after a “careful search.”
“Based on the information provided to me, I am authorized to certify on behalf of the Office of Donald J. Trump that: a. The boxes brought to Florida from the White House were carefully searched; b. This search was conducted upon receipt of the subpoena to find any documents responding to the subpoena; c. All relevant documents accompany this certification; and d. No copies, written records or reproductions of any kind have been kept of the relevant documents. I swear or certify that the above statements are true,” the letter, which was attached to the file, reads.
The filing also noted that “in a matter of hours, the FBI recovered twice as many documents with non-disclosure marks as the “diligent search” that the former president’s attorney and other officials had to conduct for weeks.”
A photo of documents seized during the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago was released Tuesday night by the Justice Department
Letter from Trump’s attorney included in the Justice Department’s filing
In all, according to an Associated Press count, 320 classified documents, some at the most restrictive levels, have been seized by Trump since he left the White House.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing. He and his team have argued Trump declassified all documents at Mar-a-Lago.
The former president requested the appointment of an independent adjudicator, known as a special master, to review FBI-seized materials on Trump’s claims, which are protected by executive privilege.
Attorneys for the U.S. Department of Justice dismissed that argument, saying Trump’s attorneys “never claimed that the former president declassified the documents or made any claim for executive privilege.”