Classified documents were ‘likely concealed and removed’ from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, the Justice Department said in a court filing Tuesday night.
Those documents were kept hidden in a possible attempt to obstruct the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s mishandling of government records, the department said.
Tuesday’s filing comes as a response to Trump’s request for an independent review, and highlights the colossal efforts taken to retrieve documents before the FBI eventually raided his home on August 8.
The FBI took 33 boxes containing over 100 classified records during their search — double the amount that Trump’s lawyers willingly provided — all while claiming they had handed over all the classified material Trump had taken when leaving the White House.
‘The government also developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed from the Storage Room and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation,’ the DOJ said in the filing.
The filing also revealed that Trump’s lawyers ‘explicitly prohibited government personnel from opening or looking inside any of the boxes’ that were found inside a storage room when FBI agents first visited his home in June.
It also showed that officials are investigating not just why the records were improperly stored in Mar-a-Lago, but whether Trump and his team have intentionally misled the government about the documents.
Included in the filing was a picture of some of the sized documents splayed across the floor of Trump’s home. The photo shows the cover pages of some classified documents, some marked clearly as ‘TOP SECRET’ or ‘SECRET’ with bright yellow borders.
The filings come ahead of a Thursday court hearing to determine whether to appoint a special master to review the documents taken from Mar-a-Lago.
The Justice Department on Tuesday said it opposed the appointment of a special master, arguing that Trump lacks standing in the case because the records do not belong to him.
On Friday, the Justice Department released a heavily redacted version of the affidavit used to justify obtaining a search warrant for Trump’s home.
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