Little has been disclosed by the Justice Department about its decision to pull White House records with an unannounced search of Mar-a-Lago on Monday. Attorney General Merrick Garland revealed on Friday that he had “personally approved” the extraordinary move to seek the warrant, and the Justice Department made the warrant public Friday, revealing that the Trump administration is investigating the Trump administration for possible violations of three criminal statutes, including the Espionage Act.
The former president was outraged that the FBI had undertaken a surprise search for Mar-a-Lago and suggested that his team had complied with the government’s requests.
“[T]They didn’t have to ‘get’ anything,” he said in a Truth Social post Friday. “They could have had it whenever they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago. It was in secure storage, with an extra lock at their request… …They could have had it whenever they wanted – and that was LONG ago. ALL they had to do was ASK.”
But CBS News learned that weeks before the search, a Trump attorney signed a document confirming that all classified materials had been removed from Mar-a-Lago, according to two sources familiar with the timeline of the events and the decision to request the search warrant.
This happened after a June 3 meeting between Justice Department officials and the former president’s lawyers in Mar-a-Lago. According to two sources, one close to Trump and the other, a US official, a grand jury subpoena was issued in the spring.
But after Trump’s attorney stated that all classified material had been removed from Mar-a-Lago, investigators learned that there may be additional classified documents at the Florida residence, having spoken with a handful of individuals who were familiar with where and how the documents are kept in the compound. It is not clear whether these individuals are staffers for Trump or for the Mar-a-Lago club.
Sunday afternoon, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Senator Mark Warner and Vice President Senator Marco Rubio requested the Department of Justice and the Director of National Intelligence to provide the Committee with the classified documents seized in the search for Mar a Lago, and an “assessment of potential risks to national security from their mishandling.”
The New York Times first reported on the Trump attorney’s certification of the removal of the classified material from Mar-a-Lago.
Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich, asked to comment on the signed document, replied: “Like any witch hunt previously fabricated by the Democrats, the waters of this unprecedented and unnecessary raid are being carried by a media willing to run with suggestive leaks, anonymous sources, not hard facts. The Biden administration thought they could “get Trump”, instead they have been exposed as the people who turn democracies into dictatorships.”