More details are emerging about the Justice Department investigation into the purloined national security documents found in the possession of Donald Trump — and none of them look favorable to the disgraced former president. New reporting in The New York Times reveals that as late as June of this year, one of Trump’s lawyers signed an affidavit attesting that all of the classified materials that had been stored at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and its storage spaces had already been returned to the National Archives.
That affidavit was belied by the evidence discovered in the FBI raid earlier this week which reportedly included documents classified as secret, top secret, and, most chillingly, “top secret/sensitive compartmented information,” documents that should rightfully not be seen outside of a secure government facility.
“The written declaration was made after a visit on June 3 to Mar-a-Lago by Jay I. Bratt, the top counterintelligence official in the Justice Department’s national security division,” according to The New York Times.
The discovery of the additional classified material at Mar-a-Lago after the Trump team swore that it had already returned everything in its possession proves that the former president was less than honest about what he had illegally removed from the White House and explains the inclusion of a federal criminal statute prohibiting obstruction of an investigation as one of the bases for requesting a search warrant.
Another new revelation — this one from Newsweek — could explain why an espionage statute was cited in that same search warrant request.
Newsweek reports that the documents Trump stole include payroll records for US spies.
Exactly the kind of thing for which Putin or Saudi Arabia would pay the Trump family billions.
Was there a bidding war the Saudis won with their $2 billion to Jared?https://t.co/EBRwXY7mwJ
— Thom Hartmann (@Thom_Hartmann) August 13, 2022
If the media reports are indeed true, the seriousness of the search of Trump’s premises becomes immediately clear.
The New York Times also revealed another interesting snippet about Trump’s reaction to the unexpected FBI search of his property.
Right before Attorney General Merrick Garland held a press conference to announce that he had personally approved the execution of a search warrant on the former president, “a person close to Mr. Trump reached out to a Justice Department official to pass along a message from the former president to the attorney general. Mr. Trump wanted Mr. Garland to know he had been checking in with people around the country and found them to be enraged by the search,” The New York Times wrote.
“’The country is on fire,’ Mr. Trump said, according to a person familiar with the exchange. ‘What can I do to reduce the heat?’”
Apparently, judging by his subsequent behavior, claiming that the FBI planted evidence and denying that he had done anything wrong is Trump’s way of tamping down the explosive and vitriolic reaction of his MAGA base.
Today’s latest revelations about the circumstances surrounding the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago only prove that the FBI and the Justice Department waited too long to take action against Trump. A year and a half is more than enough time for Trump to have exploited the classified information for his own benefit.
Prosecute this man to the fullest extent of the laws that he violated so blatantly.
Original reporting by Maggie Haberman and