Takeaways from the Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit

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The previously sealed court filing – which was released Friday in redacted form after a legal battle launched by media companies including CNN and other entities – went into previously unknown details about classified information found in boxes recovered from Trump’s Florida resort in January. He also clarified certain aspects of the chronology of the conduct of the investigation.

The FBI said there was likely ‘obstruction evidence’ and classified defense documents

The FBI told US Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart the search would likely find ‘evidence of obstruction’ in addition to its explanation in court that there were ‘probable reasons to believe’ classified national security documents had been inappropriately taken to “unauthorized” places in Trump’s home. seaside resort.

“There are probable reasons to believe that additional documents that contain classified information (national defense information) or that are presidential records subject to record retention requirements currently remain at (Mar-a-Lago)” , the FBI said under oath. “There are also probable reasons to believe that evidence of obstruction will be found at (Mar-a-Lago.)”

The FBI found 184 classified documents in 15 boxes earlier this year

When the FBI in May examined the 15 boxes the National Archives recovered from the Florida resort town in January, it found “184 unique documents bearing a classification mark,” the affidavit states.

Among the documents were “67 documents marked as CONFIDENTIAL, 92 documents marked as SECRET and 25 documents marked as TOP SECRET,” according to the filing.

The officer who filed the affidavit noted that there were markings on the documents with multiple classified compartmentalized checks, as he told the court that “[b]Due to my training and experience, I know that documents classified at these levels generally contain “national defense information”.

Also, among the documents were what appeared to be handwritten notes from the former president, according to the affidavit.

New details on how the DOJ got involved in the smash document in the first place

The FBI affidavit reveals new information about the start of the investigation. It started after a criminal referral from the National Archives, which was transmitted to the Ministry of Justice on February 9.

The Archives told the Justice Department that the boxes contained “newspapers, magazines, printed news articles, photos, miscellaneous printed matter, notes, presidential correspondence, personal and post-presidential records and” many classified documents”.

The Archives official said there was “significant concern” that “highly classified documents were… mixed in with other documents” and not being properly identified.

After receiving this information, the DOJ and FBI launched a criminal investigation into the matter, leading to the subpoena in June for classified material, and the search of Mar-a-Lago earlier this month. this.

Redactions keep evidence of obstruction secret for now

An unredacted caption of the affidavit indicates probable cause why the FBI must have believed there were documents containing classified defense information and presidential records at Mar-a-Lago.

Most of the section that follows is redacted, and the unredacted subtitle aligns with two of the criminal statutes cited by the affidavit at the beginning.

But the third potential crime – obstruction – that was cited by the warrant documents does not have a corresponding unredacted subheading in the affidavit. The FBI should have provided the court with its explanation of why it believed there was likely evidence of this crime at Mar-a-Lago, so the absence of unredacted details of this evidence indicates that this Part of the department is particularly sensitive about this aspect of its investigation being made public.

CNN’s Jeremy Herb and Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.

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