The Justice Department wants to know whether former President Donald Trump has sensitive government documents at any of his other properties after FBI agents seized 11 sets of classified records from his Mar-a-Lago residence in August.
According to Rolling Stone, two people familiar with the case said federal investigators are asking witnesses if the former president moved classified documents from Mar-a-Lago to any of his other properties, including Trump Tower in Manhattan and his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
“It was obvious they wanted to know if this went beyond just Mar-a-Lago,” one anonymous source told the magazine.
Trump’s shoddy handling of important documents at Mar-a-Lago suggests that he violated a variety of laws including the espionage act, .
The ongoing criminal investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation into Trump’s handling of classified and national defense-related government documents, which could have violated the Espionage Act, the Presidential Records Act and obstruction of justice statutes.
The FBI has been questioning several former Trump associates in the aftermath of the August 8 raid as part of its probe into Trump’s retention of highly sensitive documents. Rolling Stone reported that investigators have specifically zeroed in on Trump’s New York and New Jersey property in regard to the possibility of additional documents.
The New York Times on Thursday reported that DOJ believes Trump still has documents from his time in the White House that he has yet to return, despite the ongoing investigation into the matter.
In May 2021, the National Archives would become aware of missing documents. Among the missing material were correspondence letters with Kim Jong-un and a congratulatory letter from former President Barack Obama.
On May 6, Gary Stern—the general counsel for the National Archives—emailed Trump’s representatives, including Patrick F. Philbin, to inform them that such material was missing. In the email, Stern named Pat Cipollone as a witness to the documents, identifying two dozen boxes that were in the White House but had not been transferred to the National Archives.
Scott Gast, a representative for Trump, responded to Stern by giving him a note informing him that Trump would return his correspondence letters with Jong-un, although Trump was unclear on how to proceed.
An archive official recommended FedEx as a method of transferring the documents; Trump aides objected to this idea, and the letters were not returned.
Trump would display these letters to people in his office, leading to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows contacting Philbin in an effort to figure out how to facilitate the return of these documents.
Of the documents retrieved by NARA from Mar-a-Lago, archivists and federal agents determined that 184 unique documents had classification markings, of which 25 were marked “top secret”, 92 “secret” and 67 “confidential”.
Some materials were governed by special access programs (SAP), a type of protocol reserved for extremely sensitive U.S. operations conducted abroad, intended to significantly limit access to information deemed above the ‘top secret’ classification.
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