In addition to a wealth of information marked “secret” and “top secret,” the FBI’s search for former President Donald Trump’s Florida home yielded more than 10,000 US government documents and photos without classification marks. .
The Justice Department’s court file, filed under seal earlier this week but unsealed by a judge Friday, also shows investigators found more than 40 empty folders with “classified” banners on them in Mar-a-Lago. It is unclear what happened to the information in the folders.
They also found nearly four dozen empty folders that read “Return to Staff Secretary/Military Aide,” according to the detailed property inventory.
The documents and photos without classification marks were found in boxes and containers in Trump’s office and a storage area. It does not specify how many documents were and how many photos or their subject.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon ordered disclosure of the information contained in the more detailed title deed at a hearing on Thursday at Trump’s request to have a special master review the evidence gathered by the FBI during the Aug. 8 search.
Trump’s attorneys had complained that the original title deed the government gave them after the search — which revealed that federal agents had removed 11 sets of classified documents, including some labeled classified and top secret — was too vague and didn’t specify which items were found where.
The new version doesn’t shed much more light on the documents investigators found, but it does reveal that a large number of them were found in boxes and containers in Trump’s “45 office” at the resort.
That’s important because Trump’s attorneys had told investigators that all of the data that came out of the White House was kept in a storage facility in Mar-a-Lago, which, according to government court records, was held by agents. That exchange took place in June, after the Trump administration subpoenaed to turn in all documents with classification marks and Trump’s lawyer assured them they had.
The Justice Department said the August search turned up “one hundred unique documents with classification markings,” and the new title deed indicates that some have been haphazardly preserved. A ‘box/container’ in the storage room contained 21 documents labeled ‘Secret’ and 11 documents labeled ‘Confidential’, in addition to newspaper clippings, a book and three ‘clothing/gift items’.
During the hearing, Trump’s lawyers suggested the documents were Trump’s personal records and complained that “ongoing negotiations” with the National Archives had “suddenly turned into a criminal investigation.”
Justice Department attorneys said all recovered government documents belong to the White House, not Trump, and then he and his attorneys ignored a subpoena demanding the return of all documents with classification marks.