A US judge made public on Friday the search and seizure warrant that justified the FBI’s operation on Donald Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, this week.
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The FBI seized 11 sets of classified documents — among those papers, there were some that had marks that made it clear that four were top secret and three were classified (these are two of the highest levels of secrecy in the US classification).
US Justice Department chief says he authorized the operation at Trump’s home
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It was the Department of Justice (equivalent to the Ministry of Justice) that asked Judge Bruce Reinhart for a warrant. In making the request, the department argued that it had reason to believe that Trump violated the Espionage Act, a federal law that prohibits the possession or transmission of national defense information.
FBI agents took more than 30 items, including more than 20 boxes, folders of photos, a handwritten note and the executive grant of clemency to Roger Stone, a longtime friend of Trump’s friend. Information about the “President of France” was also included in the list.
“Top secret” is the highest level of classification, reserved for the most closed national security information in the country. It is usually kept in special government facilities because its disclosure can cause serious harm to national security.
There are federal laws prohibiting the mishandling of classified material (the Espionage Act is one of them). Trump himself increased the penalties for this while in office, making it a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
The warrant to search Trump’s Florida home earlier this week gave US federal agents the authority to seize documents and records that constituted evidence of illegally possessed items, Fox News reported.
The warrant gave agents the authority to seize “all physical documents and records that constitute evidence, contraband, proceeds of crime, or other illegally possessed items” in violation of the U.S. Code, including documents with classification markings and presidential records created between January 2017 and January 20, 2021, Fox News reported, citing revised documents.
Separately, attorneys for Trump told the administration that the former president did not object to the public release of the search warrant, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a court filing on Friday.
According to a report in the Washington Post, the FBI was looking for documents linked to nuclear weapons when it carried out the operation.
Trump responded that the president before him, Barack Obama, had classified documents and also linked to nuclear weapons.