Decemver 9, 2022
Yet more classified documents taken illicitly by former President Donald Trump when he left the White House have surfaced, after a federal judge directed his lawyers to look for any materials still in his possession, reports The New York Times.
Trump hired staff to search four properties after being directed by a federal judge to look harder for any classified material still in his possession, and they found at least two documents with classified markings inside a sealed box in one of the locations, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Trump’s search team discovered the documents at a federally run storage site in West Palm Beach, Florida, the person said—prompting his lawyers to notify the Justice Department about them.
The New York Times reported in October that Justice Department officials had told the former president’s lawyers that they believed he might have more classified materials that were not returned in response to a subpoena issued in May.
The F.B.I. searched Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s private club and residence in Florida, in August for additional classified documents and other presidential records.
People close to Trump had said earlier on Wednesday, December 7, that no classified material had been found during the searches—a claim that was later proved incorrect. The Washington Post first reported on the discovery of the two additional documents, as well as the searches of the properties.
After the warning from the Justice Department, a debate ensued among Trump’s lawyers about whether to bring in an independent firm to conduct a search.
According to two people familiar with the events, the discovery of the documents at the storage unit, maintained by the federal General Services Administration, came during a series of wider searches that were completed around Thanksgiving and conducted at:
- Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey;
- Trump Tower in New York; and
- In a storage closet at Mar-a-Lago.
Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Mr. Trump, said in a statement that the former president and “his counsel continue to be cooperative and transparent, despite the unprecedented, illegal and unwarranted attack against President Trump and his family by the weaponized Department of Justice.”
The department is investigating the former president’s handling of thousands of government documents, including more than 300 classified ones, that were taken from the White House at the end of his term and were found at Mar-a-Lago. Prosecutors are also seeking to determine whether Trump obstructed the government’s repeated efforts to retrieve the materials.
Research contact: @nytimes