After an independent team hired by Trump investigated a storage unit in West Palm Beach, Florida, used by the former president, his lawyers discovered at least two items designated classified, according to people familiar with the situation reports the Washington Post.
According to those sources, who like other speakers spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive topics, those artifacts were promptly given over to the FBI.
According to people familiar with the situation, the search was one of at least three that an outside team had carried out on his properties in recent weeks to look for classified materials after they were pressed by a federal judge to attest they had fully complied with a May grand jury subpoena to turn over all materials bearing classified markings.
Emails from the General Services Administration, which helps former presidents adjust to life in the private sector, reveal that on July 21, 2021, the government organization assisted in renting the storage space at a commercial facility in West Palm Beach. The unit was required to store items that had been kept at a Northern Virginia office that Trump staffers had utilized in the months immediately following his departure from office.
The emails reveal that GSA and Trump staffers coordinated the September 2021 shipping of numerous pallets of boxes and other things
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, the storage unit contained a variety of boxes, gifts, suits, and clothing, among other items. This individual said, “It was suits and swords and wrestling belts and all sorts of things.” He hasn’t even been to the storage facility, as far as I know. Nobody in the Trump universe, in my opinion, could tell you what is stored there.
Trump advisers said that neither the contents of the storage container nor the secret documents transported to a room beneath Mar-a-Lago were cataloged.
Although the eventual importance of the secret documents in the storage facility is not yet evident, their presence there suggests Trump kept classified documents in several locations besides Mar-a-Lago. Additionally, it shows that Trump and his staff did not completely abide by a May grand jury subpoena that asked for all secret materials to remain in the possession of the post-presidential office.
In addition to searching his storage unit, the team also searched his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and more recently, Trump Tower in New York, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. At least one additional property was also searched by the outside team.
The crew also offered the FBI a chance to watch the search, but the offer was rejected, according to the people. The monitoring of a property search by someone other than a law enforcement agency by federal agents would be unpreceded.
According to those acquainted with the procedure, Trump’s attorneys have informed the Justice Department that the outside team’s searches of Bedminster and Trump Tower turned up no new classified information. They have also stated that they hired a business with experience in document searching.
“President Trump and his counsel continue to be cooperative and transparent,” Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said, accusing the Justice Department of committing an “unprecedented” and “unwarranted attack” against Trump and his family.
After the Justice Department raised concerns that the Trump legal team had not completely complied with a subpoena earlier this year, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A.
Howell instructed the team to keep looking for records. People with knowledge of the situation claim that Howell did not issue precise instructions regarding how a search should be conducted.
Howell’s directives came after the government lost faith in Trump’s legal team, which prompted prosecutors to request a court-authorized FBI investigation of Mar-a-Lago in August.
Prosecutors have since questioned whether Trump has returned all documents marked with a classification level, however, it is unclear what efforts the government may take to locate these documents or what steps it might require Trump’s aides and attorneys to take.
The people familiar with the situation stated that Trump’s team made an effort to prevent a further public government search of his properties.
The people claim that at least one of Trump’s attorneys has in the past argued for a less harsh approach to the Justice Department investigation of Trump and his advisers for three potential crimes: mismanagement of national security secrets, obstruction, and destruction of government data.