The correspondence represents the Biden administration’s first known engagement with Congress on the issue of the ongoing investigation entangling the former president. Court documents released in recent days have revealed that the Justice Department is investigating possible violations of the Presidential Records Act, the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice.
Haines’s response also came the same day a federal judge denied an edited version of the affidavit setting out the Justice Department’s justification for obtaining a search warrant for Mar-a-Lago, which was executed earlier this month. The affidavit revealed that prosecutors believed Trump possessed a series of top-secret documents in his private residence, including documents derived from human intelligence and interceptions under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
“I am pleased that Director Haines has confirmed that the intelligence agency and the Department of Justice are assessing the damage caused by the improper storage of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago,” Schiff said in a statement to POLITICO. “The DOJ affidavit, partially unsealed yesterday, confirms my grave concern that among the documents stored at Mar-a-Lago were documents that could endanger human resources. It is critical that the IC intervenes quickly to assess and, if necessary, mitigate the damage done — a process that should run in parallel with the DOJ’s criminal investigation.”
A spokesperson for Maloney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The intelligence community’s assessment likely includes whether unauthorized individuals had access to the highly sensitive documents. The Justice Department has previously sounded the alarm over the lax security of records within Trump’s estate. That question could also affect the criminal investigation, as Justice Department counterintelligence investigators determine whether the top-secret data has been compromised in any way.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has also asked the intelligence community to conduct a damage assessment regarding Trump’s handling of the documents, but the investigation was twofold. The panel chair, Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Vice Chair, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), both signed the request.
The duo also asked the Ministry of Justice to give the commission access to the specific documents seized at Mar-a-Lago. A wider group of congressional leaders also asked to see the documents.
In a statement earlier Saturday, Rubio noted that the Justice Department has not yet responded to the commission’s letter, but is not referring to Haines.
“The Senate Intelligence Committee is still awaiting information from the Justice Department regarding the specific intelligence documents seized at Mar-a-Lago and what required an unprecedented search warrant on President Trump’s residence,” Rubio said.
Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.