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Trump investigation live updates: Mar-a-Lago search documents released

ABC News logo ABC News 8/13/2022
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Search documents were released by the court on Friday after the FBI executed an unprecedented raid on former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on Monday. The FBI was searching for evidence that sources told ABC News is tied to his alleged mishandling of classified documents.

It's believed to be the first search by the federal agency of the residence of a current or former U.S. president. Trump and other Republicans have sharply criticized the raid as a partisan attack and have demanded an explanation. Trump denies wrongdoing.

 

Latest Developments

Aug 13, 6:47 PM

Lawmakers request 'damage assessment' of Mar-a-Lago documents

Two top House lawmakers sent a three-page letter Saturday to the director of National Intelligence asking for an "immediate review and damage assessment" to national security stemming from reports that "highly classified documents" were recovered from Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, chair of the House Oversight Committee, wrote to National Intelligence director Avril Haines that "Trump's conduct has potentially put our national security at grave risk" and that the issue "demands a full review."

Referring to Washington Post reporting that the FBI was seeking in part material "relating to nuclear weapons," they said, "It is hard to overstate the national security danger that could emanate from the reckless decision to remove and retain this material."

They also asked for a classified briefing "as soon as possible."

-ABC News' Justin Gomez

 
Aug 13, 6:46 PM

Trump lawyer said in June all classified documents were turned over: Sources

A lawyer for Trump signed a statement in June that all classified documents at Mar-a-Lago had been turned over to federal investigators, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

The signed declaration came following the June visit by federal agents in search of additional materials that Trump was believed to have failed to turn over to the National Archives. During that visit, as ABC News has previously reported, Trump stopped by and greeted the agents. Two lawyers representing Trump were present during that visit, sources have said.

There was also a second subpoena that Trump complied with seeking security footage of the Mar-a-Lago club towards the end of June, sources told ABC News.

The New York Times was the first to report these details.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

In a receipt showing property that was seized from Trump's estate, agents noted they recovered 11 sets of documents of various classifications ranging from confidential to top secret and sensitive compartmented information.

-ABC News' John Santucci, Katherine Faulders and Alexander Mallin

 
Aug 12, 8:07 PM

Classified question may not matter for 2 of 3 statutes: ABC News chief legal analyst

The Trump team has said that the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago in this week's FBI raid were declassified. But whether or not they were classified may not matter for two of the criminal statutes cited in the warrant, according to ABC News chief legal analyst Dan Abrams.

"As I look at these statutes, I'm focused less on the question that the Trump team has been talking about, which is the classification of the documents -- which is obviously very important in a macro picture -- but in a strictly legal sense, [for] two of these three statutes, that may not even be the critical question," Abrams told ABC's David Muir in a special report on Friday following the release of the search warrant.

One of the statutes, 18 USC 1519, relates to the destruction, alteration or falsification of records.

"That is the statute I am singularly most interested in here," Abrams said.

The search of the Mar-a-Lago estate was for classified documents, according to the warrant.

 
Aug 12, 4:31 PM

Read the redacted warrant, related papers

 
Aug 12, 4:18 PM

Trump spokesman calls search 'outrageous'

In a statement, Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich described the FBI operation at Mar-a-Lago as a "botched raid" and called the search "outrageous."

"The Biden administration is in obvious damage control after their botched raid where they seized the President’s picture books, a 'hand written note,' and declassified documents," Budowich said in a statement. "This raid of President Trump's home was not just unprecedented, but unnecessary -- and now they are leaking lies and innuendos to try to explain away the weaponization of government against their dominant political opponent."

Despite Budowich's statement, it has not been confirmed whether any of the seized documents were declassified.

 
Aug 12, 5:18 PM

DOJ investigates potential violation of at least 3 separate criminal statutes

A judge has released redacted copies of the warrant and inventory from the search executed at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago property. The government requested the unsealing on Thursday.

The filing, which includes two attachments ("Attachment A" and "Attachment B"), indicates that the Justice Department, in its search of the Palm Beach, Florida, estate, is investigating potential violation of at least three separate criminal statutes including a statute under the Espionage Act.

Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower in New York City, the day after FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, Aug. 9, 2022. © David Dee Delgado/Reuters Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower in New York City, the day after FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, Aug. 9, 2022.

Attachment B states that the property to be seized by agents includes "all physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime or other items illegally possessed" in violation of 18 USC 793, a statute under the Espionage Act involving the gathering, transmitting or loss of defense information; 18 USC 2071, which involves any federal government employee who willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies or destroys public records; and 18 USC 1519, obstruction of justice.

Under the receipt showing property that was seized from Trump's estate, agents note they recovered 11 sets of documents of various classifications ranging from confidential to top secret and sensitive compartmented information.

Police direct traffic outside an entrance to former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, Aug. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla © Terry Renna/AP Police direct traffic outside an entrance to former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, Aug. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla

The receipt identifies one set referring to "various classified/TS/SCI documents," four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents and three sets of documents described as confidential. It appears that there were 27 boxes taken.

Other items included in the receipt include one labeled "Info re: President of France," an executive grant of clemency for Trump ally Roger Stone, binders of photos, a "potential presidential record" and a leather-bound box of documents.

Found in Mar-A-Lago Raid © Search warrant, related attachments A and B and receipt for property Found in Mar-A-Lago Raid

Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich said, "The Biden administration is in obvious damage control after their botched raid where they seized the President’s picture books, a 'hand written note,' and declassified documents. This raid of President Trump's home was not just unprecedented, but unnecessary -- and now they are leaking lies and innuendos to try to explain away the weaponization of government against their dominant political opponent."

ABC News' John Santucci, Alex Mallin and Katherine Faulders

 
Aug 12, 1:10 PM

House Republicans attack integrity of DOJ and FBI

Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee defended former President Donald Trump while attacking the integrity of the Department of Justice and the FBI during a press conference on Capitol Hill Friday.

"President Donald Trump is Joe Biden's most likeliest political opponent in 2024 and this is less than 100 days from critical midterm elections," Rep. Elise Stefanik, the No. 3 House Republican, said. "The FBI raid of President Trump is a complete abuse and overreach of its authority."

Rep. Elise Stefanik speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Aug. 12, 2022, on the FBI serving a search warrant at former President Donald Trump's home in Florida. © Susan Walsh/AP Rep. Elise Stefanik speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Aug. 12, 2022, on the FBI serving a search warrant at former President Donald Trump's home in Florida.

Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Michael Turner, R-Ohio, told reporters that Republicans on the committee are "glad" the Department of Justice has begun the process of releasing "some" of the information about the raid to the public, but called for more. Turner said committee Republicans want access to the affidavit outlining the "imminent security threat" justifying the raid.

"Our request remains that the director of the FBI and the attorney general disclose to this committee the imminent national security threat upon which they based their decision to order a raid on the president's home, again underscoring that there were many other options available to them," Turner claimed. "We believe after the release today that these questions will remain unanswered."

"The real story will be with the release of the affidavit itself," Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., added. "The bureau and the attorney general and the DOJ obviously made the decision that this extreme measure was necessary. We will await their rationale for why that extreme measure was justified and not some lesser intrusive means."

Turner did not call for the public disclosure of the underlying affidavit, which is expected to remain under seal, but did say that members of the intelligence committee and other committees of jurisdiction should have access. He called on committee Democrats to support a subpoena for this affidavit if there is non-compliance.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy dodged ABC News’ questions about whether he supports the release of the warrant authorizing the raid, instead saying he'd like to see the subpoena against Trump.

The motion by the Justice Department to the U.S. District Court South District of Florida to unseal the search warrant the FBI received before searching the Florida estate of former President Donald Trump, is photographed, Aug. 11, 2022. © Jon Elswick/AP The motion by the Justice Department to the U.S. District Court South District of Florida to unseal the search warrant the FBI received before searching the Florida estate of former President Donald Trump, is photographed, Aug. 11, 2022.

Trump received a subpoena in the spring for documents that he did not return to the National Archives, ABC News has reported. It's unclear to what extent, if at all, he complied. The Justice Department has not publicly confirmed the existence of a subpoena.

Stefanik promised a "fulsome investigation" if Republicans retake the gavel in November.

"House Republicans are committed to immediate oversight, accountability and a fulsome investigation to provide needed transparency and answers to the American people," Stefanik said.

The group also emphasized that they're in "full support" of those who serve in the FBI and law enforcement agencies and condemned any violence against agents, while also repeatedly calling into question the credibility of law enforcement.

-ABC News’ Allie Pecorin and Katherine Faulders

 
Aug 12, 1:09 PM

Pelosi slams GOP for rhetoric following raid

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is blasting Republicans for their rhetoric following the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago.

Asked by ABC News about concerns over possibly increasing levels of violence against law enforcement and public officials after recent rhetoric from the GOP, Pelosi said Friday that she knows "very well how vicious" some of those threats can be, and said they’ve been "exacerbated" by former President Donald Trump.

"You would think there would be an adult in the Republican room that would say, 'Just calm down. See what the facts are and let's go for that.' Instead of … instigating assaults on law enforcement," Pelosi said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks at her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill, Aug. 12, 2022, in Washington, D.C. © Mariam Zuhaib/AP House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks at her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill, Aug. 12, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

When asked if she wants Congress to open more investigations into the material that Trump allegedly took, Pelosi said she’s not currently making plans for that and is going to let the investigation unfold.

Pelosi said she was not briefed on any aspect of the FBI raid or what classified information was being held.

She said she only knows "what’s in the public domain," but she added, "if the nature of these documents is what appears to be, this is very serious."

-ABC News’ Justin Gomez and Molly Nagle

 
Aug 12, 8:44 AM

Washington Post: Nuclear documents sought at Mar-a-Lago

The Washington Post is reporting that classified documents related to nuclear weapons were among the items agents sought by federal agents at Mar-a-Lago.

Multiple sources familiar with the investigation told ABC News that the Justice Department and the FBI believed Trump continued to keep sensitive classified documents that had national security implications and that in recent weeks additional information came in suggesting that Trump was not complying with requests to provide the information the Justice Department believed he had in his possession.

 
Aug 12, 8:00 AM

DOJ believes Trump held onto sensitive classified documents and associates questioned, sources say

Multiple sources familiar with the investigation told ABC News that the Department of Justice and the FBI believed former President Donald Trump continued to keep sensitive classified documents that had national security implications, and that in recent weeks additional information came in suggesting Trump was not complying with requests to provide the information the Justice Department believed he had in his possession.

The information was sensitive enough that authorities wanted to take it back into possession immediately.

-ABC News' Pierre Thomas, Alexander Mallin, Luke Barr, Katherine Faulders, and John Santucci

MORE: DOJ believes Trump held onto sensitive classified documents and associates questioned, sources say
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