December 9, 2023

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The Justice Department suspects former President Donald Trump may still have classified documents that he removed from the White House when he stepped down in January 2021, people familiar with the matter told NBC News.

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As NBC reports, the DOJ’s head of counter-intelligence affairs, Jay Bratt, recently told Trump’s lawyers that the department believes they classified all government documents he took with him when he left office. not done or not.

News, first reported by new York Times And wall street journal, comes two months after FBI agents empowered by a search warrant raided Trump’s residence in Florida and seized thousands of government documents. More than 100 records were classified.

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It also comes after Acting Archivist for the United States Debra Steidl Wall, in a letter to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Said the National Archives and Records Administration Still Has Not Recovered the Records of Trump White House Staff which are contained in non-official electronic accounts that he used during his presidency.

NARA classified more than 150 documents marked in boxes of records that Trump handed over to the agency from Mar-a-Lago in January.

The DOJ declined to comment.

Trump spokesman Taylor Budovich said in a statement to NBC News: “The Armed Justice Department and the politicized FBI are spending millions and millions of Americans taxing. [dollars] To sustain the witch hunt after the witch hunt.”

Budovich said that “all recent presidents moved millions of pages of documents,” and argued that “President Trump is being targeted unjustly, illegally and unconstitutionally because he fights to restore power to the people.” Won’t stop.”

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The August 8 raid at the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach was part of Trump’s ongoing criminal investigation Removal of government records when he left officeAnd a potential obstruction of justice in not returning those documents as federal officials sought their return.

By law, such records are the property of the US government.

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The DOJ said the raids found empty file folders that were classified. Officials also complained that a judge’s ruling temporarily barred the DOJ from examining seized classified documents, “preventing the FBI and DOJ from a review” that could identify other records. which are “still missing.”

Although the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago, where Trump lives in the non-summer months, agents searched neither his residence at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, or his apartment in Trump Tower in New York City. .

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The Daily Mail last month published a video of Trump in May 2021 Boarded a jet near Mar-a-Lago as file boxes were being loaded onto the plane. Trump was going to Bedminster at the time.

The Times reports that Trump’s lawyers are divided over how to respond to the DOJ’s suspicions that the former president still has classified material. A group of lawyers headed by Chris Kiss suggested that Trump maintain a forensic accounting firm to search for suspicious records. But other lawyers barred Trump from that route, according to the report.

The latest reports of potentially still-missing classified documents further complicate an already entrenched legal situation.

Judges from four federal courts, including the Supreme Court, are dealing with disputes between Trump’s lawyers and the DOJ on the parameters and timing of the use of records in criminal investigations.