The release of a redacted affidavit that the Justice Department used to obtain a search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home shed new light on the federal investigation into document handling his White House.
The court filing the sealed Friday went into previously unknown details about the classified information found in boxes retrieved from Trump’s Florida resort in January. It also confirmed aspects of the timeline about how the investigation unfolded.
The file shows, among other things, that the documents that may have been illegally misused in Mar-a-Lago contain some of America’s most sensitive secrets.
Here are some key points from the newly released document:
The FBI said there was likely “evidence of obstruction” and classified defense documents
The FBI told U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart that the search would likely find “evidence of obstruction” in addition to explaining to the court that there was “probable reason to believe” that classified national security material was improperly sent to “not -authorized” locations in Trump’s refuge.
FBI found 184 classified documents from 15 boxes earlier this year
In May, when the FBI checked the 15 boxes that the National Archives retrieved from the Florida resort in January, it found “184 unique, classification-marked documents,” the affidavit said.
Among the materials were “67 documents marked CONFIDENTIAL, 92 documents marked SECRET and 25 documents marked TOP SECRET,” the filing said.
New details on how the DOJ got involved with the documents faction in the first place
The FBI investigation began after a criminal referral from the National Archives dated Feb. 9, in which the Archives said the boxes contained “many classified documents.”
The Archives official said there was “significant concern” that “highly classified records…were mixed with other records” and were not being identified correctly.
Editors keep obstruction evidence secret for the time being
The third potential felony — obstruction — cited by the warrant material has no corresponding unedited subheading in the affidavit. The FBI should have explained to the court why it believed there was likely evidence of that Mar-a-Lago crime, so the absence of unedited details on that evidence indicates that part of the department is particularly sensitive to that aspect of his research is made public.
DOJ keeps details about involved personnel close to chest
The department said in its legal briefing justifying the memos that FBI personnel already identified as involved in the investigation had received “threats of violence from members of the public.”
The FBI told the judge that “[m]small but important” redactions in the affidavit were needed to “protect the safety of law enforcement.”
CNN’s Jeremy Herb and Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.