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FBI search warrant shows Trump under investigation for potential obstruction of justice, Espionage Act violations

By Donna
August 12, 2022 1:36 pm
Category: News

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A search warrant newly unsealed on Friday reveals that the FBI is investigating Donald Trump for a potential violation of the Espionage Act and removed classified documents from the former president’s Florida estate earlier this week.

A receipt accompanying the search warrant, viewed by POLITICO in advance of its unsealing, shows that Trump possessed documents including a handwritten note; documents marked with “TS/SCI,” which indicates one of the highest levels of government classification; and another item labeled “Info re: President of France.”

Also among the items taken from Mar-a-Lago this week: An item labeled “Executive grant of clemency re: Roger Jason Stone, Jr.,” a reference to one of Trump’s closest confidants who received a pardon in late 2020.

The warrant shows federal law enforcement was investigating Trump for removal or destruction of records, obstruction of justice and violating the Espionage Act — which can encompass crimes beyond spying, such as the refusal to return national security documents upon request. Conviction under the statutes can result in imprisonment or fines.

The documents, unsealed after the Justice Department sought their public disclosure amid relentless attacks by Trump and his GOP allies, underscore the extraordinary national security threat that federal investigators believed the missing documents presented. The concern grew so acute that Attorney General Merrick Garland approved the unprecedented search of Trump’s estate last week.

The disclosure of the documents comes four days after Trump publicly confirmed the court-authorized search of his Mar-a-Lago home by the FBI, marshaling his political allies to unleash fierce criticism of federal investigators. But the details in the warrant underscore the gravity of the probe — an unprecedented investigation of a former president for mishandling some of the nation’s most sensitive secrets.

Trump has claimed since Monday that he has cooperated with investigators from the National Archives and FBI for months and that the unannounced search was an unnecessary escalation. But after several rounds of negotiations in which materials were recovered by the Archives, federal investigators came to believe Trump hadn’t returned everything in his possession.

The search warrant, signed on Aug. 5 by federal magistrate judge Bruce Reinhart, revealed that dozens of items were seized, most of them described in vague terms like “leatherbound box of documents,” “binder of photos” and “handwritten note.”

Other items on the list indicate the presence of classified material, describing them as “miscellaneous top secret documents” and “miscellaneous confidential documents.”

Stone's attorney Grant Smith said that the longtime Trump ally "has no knowledge as to the facts surrounding his clemency documents appearing on the inventory of items seized from former President Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago."

Shortly after 3 p.m., the Justice Department confirmed that Trump’s lawyers would not oppose the public release of the search warrant and underlying receipt of materials, which had already begun to circulate widely.


Cited and related links:

  1. news.yahoo.com

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Comments on "FBI search warrant shows Trump under investigation for potential obstruction of justice, Espionage Act violations":

  1. by Curt_Anderson on August 12, 2022 1:50 pm
    What if the January 6th investigation is the least of Trump's problems? Obstruction of justice and Espionage Act violations sound serious.


  2. by islander on August 12, 2022 2:30 pm
    This isn't a complete surprise since we had been told this investigation wasn't limited to just Jan 6. It's the nature of the potential crimes that took me by surprise.


  3. by oldedude on August 12, 2022 2:31 pm
    If they charge him for the Espionage Act violations, they'll have a hell of a time since they did nothing with cliton, who admitted under oath she had classified in her personal server that was hooked up to the internet.


  4. by Donna on August 12, 2022 2:51 pm
    Well Hillary wasn't found guilty of any crime, and there are aspects of the Trump case that are different, like he stole physical secret government documents and apparently didn't comply with handing all of them over after the DOJ discovered that some were missing and requested them from him. I also heard that the insider who blew the whistle on him may have told the DOJ that there was reason to think he was either planning to or had already destroyed some of them. So all of that is a long way of saying that you can't compare this case to the one that involved Hillary.


  5. by oldedude on August 12, 2022 2:58 pm
    That is yet another concern. They dropped the case without comments. So she isn't "innocent." Yet another piece of the swamp jungle. Which by the way, was the same folks that lied to the FISA court.


  6. by Donna on August 12, 2022 3:01 pm
    Well Republicans led that investigation of her, right?


  7. by Curt_Anderson on August 12, 2022 3:09 pm
    OD,
    A list of documents removed from Mar-a-Lago, includes materials marked as top secret and meant to be viewed only in secure government facilities. That's several rungs up the secrecy ladder from classified which is what Hillary had.

    LOCK HIM UP!


  8. by islander on August 12, 2022 4:10 pm
    Curt, this gets even worse for Trump. I don't know if you follow Marcy Wheeler but she really gets deeply into the legal aspects of what we're seeing happening on the political scene.

    "On June 22, Kash Patel announced that he had just been made a representative for Trump at the National Archives. (h/t to Suburban Gal for these links)

    I can tell you now that I am now officially a representative for Donald Trump at the National Archives. And I’m going to march down there — I’ve never told anyone this, because it just happened, and I’m going to identify every single document that they blocked from being declassified at the National Archives.

    The next day, Kash described that that letter, making him Trump’s representative to the Archives, “just came in, literally before I came on the show” the day before.

    As it happens, June 22 is also the same day that the FBI sent a subpoena to Mar-a-Lago for surveillance footage.

    On June 22, the Trump Organization, the name for Mr. Trump’s family business, received a subpoena for surveillance footage from cameras at Mar-a-Lago. That footage was turned over, according to an official.

    According to a John Solomon column that was actually the first to report details of this purported cooperation in June, the subpoena specifically asked for surveillance videos covering the room where Trump had stashed his stolen documents.

    Around the same time, the Trump Organization, which owns Mar-a-Lago, received a request for surveillance video footage covering the locker and volunteered the footage to federal authorities, sources disclosed.

    On June 24, two days after Kash and Solomon were given official access to Trump’s archives, Betsy Woodruff Swan reported that it wasn’t just Kash who had been given privileged access to Trump’s Archives. Solomon had also been made Trump’s representative at the Archives.

    That seeming coincidence — that the FBI formally asked for surveillance videos showing who had accessed Trump’s stash of stolen records on the same day that Kash and Solomon were officially added to the list of those who represented Trump’s interests with the Archives — may raise the stakes of Trump’s legal exposure significantly.

    That’s because if Trump deliberately allowed people not permitted access to classified documents or his negligence allowed people to remove such documents, it would trigger other parts of the Espionage Act than the one that prohibits someone from stealing classified documents and refusing to give them back (and all are covered by the warrant)."


    Read the rest here:



    emptywheel.net


  9. by oldedude on August 12, 2022 4:11 pm
    You'd have to see what he had in his house as a SCIF. It's kinda routine for that level to have them in their houses. He did say they had to go to the basement, which may indicate there was a SCIF. Someone may have had a "safe room" for the family, then turned it in to a SCIF. If it wasn't there, you have a whole bunch of "what ifs" which I'm not going to entertain. They work with their security folks and have it built by a vetted contractor. These houses have usually a vault or approved filing system, and a phone that can do SECRET or TOP SECRET calls. Of course, it usually isn't in your bathroom. IF he did it correctly, may not be an issue. The flip side is that he didn't grow up in the genre and isn't familiar with requirements. That is a problem. I'd say both of us have a 50/50 chance.
    I'm not excusing it. I don't know.


  10. by Curt_Anderson on August 12, 2022 4:33 pm
    OD,
    Having a household SCIF apparently isn't good enough. The NY Times and others are reporting that "Items removed from Mar-a-Lago included files marked as top secret and meant to be viewed only in secure government facilities, according to a copy of the warrant."


  11. by oldedude on August 12, 2022 8:13 pm
    I agree. That would be IAW with State Dept guidelines. What he was lying about was that if you're authorized for this, they will come check you building out and clear it. Most former presidents have these. Maybe not Carter. These are considered "secured government facilities."
    I'm shocked that you would actually believe islander. He knows less about this than he does medicine. I would just piss on him. The "secure governmsent facilities" is a designation, not a location. I've been in safehouse in other shithole countries with SCIFs in them. It was a location for SATFONEs.

    Is isle not wanting to talk to me? did he loose his balls that easily? I'm really not shocked.


  12. by Curt_Anderson on August 12, 2022 8:31 pm
    OD,
    "A SCIF was established at Mar-a-Lago, but it operated as a secure facility only during the Trump presidency."

    Maybe there is contradictory information elsewhere. I searched, but I cannot find any reports that indicate that Trump has an currently operational SCIF in his residence. In more than one site, I read that Mar-a-Lago, being a public place, is a security nightmare for the Secret Service. They caught at least one Chinese spy wandering around there.
    theguardian.com


  13. by oldedude on August 12, 2022 8:46 pm
    That may be where the lawsuit is. Truly, a childs game. I understand (but don't know) the SCIF was not after the presidency. Was it a SCIF before? was it actually decertified and were the owners notified? If it continues the same protocol, then you have a case of mens reas. Again, we're back to someone that knew and had lived with the rules for decades, vs someone that hasn't.

    Are you as culpable as me? Make your case in this case.


  14. by Curt_Anderson on August 12, 2022 8:54 pm
    OD,
    Are you thinking that all this could result in merely a lawsuit for Trump?

    I don't. It's likely that it will be a criminal case similar to the Kenneth Wayne Ford case which I posted elsewhere. I also predict that AG Garland will leave Trump hanging for awhile for wondering if criminal charges will be filed or not.


  15. by oldedude on August 12, 2022 8:59 pm
    donna-

    You have to look if the whole document is “TS/SCI,” Otherwise check every paragraph. If It's about Macron visiting, and it's over checked the expiration date. My guess is that Macron had already visited. If that's the case, it's declassified. Maybe he kept it as a memento. There are so many things that are issues here.

    And yes, it is tedious. It's truly a PITA. And, it's something you do. Again, I've been in the genre for 32 of my 40 years. I understand that if you're not in it, it's hard to get the "nuances." Oh. I'm not insulting you at all. Please.


  16. by oldedude on August 12, 2022 9:02 pm
    "OD,
    Are you thinking that all this could result in merely a lawsuit for Trump?"

    I'm thinking his lawyers are thinking the same as cliton. Prescience has been set already. The only people that have served time have been GOP. OUCH! That's a bad issue...


  17. by oldedude on August 12, 2022 9:06 pm
    "newly unsealed "

    Does that mean it's the old warrant revamped, "unsealed"?


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