by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 12, 2022) — In a post on TruthSocial very early Friday morning, 45th President of the United States Donald J. Trump urged the release of documents associated with the unprecedented FBI raid on his Mar-a-Lago resort Monday morning, an option he and his legal team were provided when the U.S. Justice Department on Thursday filed a motion with the court agreeing to make the documents public.
Trump’s attorneys claim the government overreached when between 30 and 40 FBI agents descended upon the post-presidential residence in Palm Beach at approximately 6:30 a.m. Monday and that they were given no notice of the search warrant or even permitted to view it in its entirety.
No one outside of federal agents was allowed to remain on the premises, the attorneys have said.
Speculation has abounded as to exactly which documents or items the agents were seeking and why the Justice Department chose the drastic measure of a search warrant on a former president’s home to obtain them. According to Trump’s attorneys, documents had been requested by the National Archives which Trump handed over in June while at the same time agreeing to have the Secret Service install an extra lock on the storage room in which many of his presidential materials are kept.
In February, The New York Post via the AP reported that the National Archives had told the Justice Department it was missing “classified” documents from the Trump presidency, writing:
Classified information was found in the 15 boxes of White House records that were stored at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, the National Archives and Records Administration said Friday in a letter that confirmed the matter has been sent to the Justice Department.
The letter from the agency follows numerous reports around Trump’s handling of sensitive and even classified information during his time as president and after he left the White House. The revelation could also interest federal investigators responsible for policing the handling of government secrets, though the Justice Department and FBI have not indicated they will pursue.
Federal law bars the removal of classified documents to unauthorized locations, though it is possible that Trump could try to argue that, as president, he was the ultimate declassification authority.
According to Fox News on August 9, the National Archives first contacted Trump’s attorneys for the documents. In an undated timeline, Fox reported, in part:
Shortly after correspondence with NARA, Trump returns 15 missing boxes of classified materials from his time in office.
“NARA had ongoing communications with the representatives of former President Trump throughout 2021, which resulted in the transfer of 15 boxes to NARA in January 2022,” David Ferriero, who served as NARA director from November 2009 until April, wrote to House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., in response to an inquiry in February.
He said that the agency was in the process of inventorying the contents of the boxes as of Feb. 18.
Ferriero added that NARA requested Trump representatives “continue to search for any additional Presidential records that have not been transferred to NARA, as required by the Presidential Records Act” and that the agency notified the DOJ since classified documents were identified in the boxes Trump turned over.
Senior DOJ officials travel to Mar-a-Lago to meet with lawyers representing Trump regarding additional missing documents. Jay Bratt, the chief of DOJ’s counterintelligence and export control section is in attendance.
Bratt’s signature is found on the DOJ’s Motion to Unseal Limited Warrant Materials in response to media cries for the release of the warrant and any underlying documents associated with Monday’s raid.
According to the undated timeline, “Negotiations between DOJ investigators and Trump’s representatives break down due to apparent lack of cooperation from Trump” and “It is unclear when negotiations exactly deteriorated.”
Trump’s attorneys have indicated no such breakdown in communications or cooperation.
Following a subpoena for the outstanding documents, JusttheNews reported Thursday, “The flurry of cooperation in June came months after Trump had already returned about 15 boxes of documents, many of them classified, at the request of the National Archives. Government officials have said the documents were mistakenly boxed up by the General Services Administration along with Trump’s personal possessions from the White House and shipped to Mar-a -Lago.”
Also according to Trump on Friday morning, “Nuclear weapons issue is a Hoax, just like Russia, Russia, Russia was a Hoax, two Impeachments were a Hoax, the Mueller investigation was a Hoax, and much more. Same sleazy people involved. Why wouldn’t the FBI allow the inspection of areas at Mar-a-Lago with our lawyer’s, or others, present. Made them wait outside in the heat, wouldn’t let them get even close – said ‘ABSOLUTELY NOT.’ Planting information anyone? Reminds me of a Christofer Steele Dossier!”
According to Fox News at approximately 8:04 a.m. EDT, the search warrant could be released as early as this afternoon and could include the subpoena and “sworn affidavit” provided to Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart last Friday. The “inventory” list, former Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said at 8:08 a.m., will be “redacted.”