The search warrant identifies three federal crimes that the Justice Department is looking into as part of its investigation: violations of the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice, and criminal tampering with government records. The inclusion of the crimes indicates that the Justice Department has probable cause to investigate those crimes, as it was gathering evidence in the search. No one has been charged with a crime at this time.
Agents also took four sets of “top secret” documents, three sets of “secret” documents and three sets of “sensitive” documents, court documents show. In all, the unsealed warrant shows the FBI collected more than 20 boxes, as well as photo folders, sets of classified government materials and at least one handwritten note.
CNN obtained the order, which was unsealed and made public after a federal judge’s order, prior to publication. The moment marks an unprecedented week that began with the search, an evidence-gathering step in a national security investigation.
Search Warrant Reveals New Details About Scope of FBI Investigation
While details about the documents themselves remain scant, the laws cited in the order offer a new perspective on what the FBI was looking for when it searched Trump’s home, an unprecedented step that has drawn a firestorm of criticism from some. of the closest allies of the former president.
The laws cover “destroying or concealing documents to obstruct government investigations” and the illegal removal of government records, according to the search warrant issued Friday.
Also among the laws listed is one known as the Espionage Act, which relates to the “recovery, storage, or transmission of national defense information or classified material.”
The three criminal statutes cited in the order are from Title 18 of the United States Code. None of them depend solely on whether the information was considered unclassified.
It is unclear how the Stone-related document seized during the search is related to the broader criminal investigation into Trump’s possible mishandling of classified materials.
During the search, FBI agents also recovered material about the “president of France,” according to the warrant receipt. The French embassy in Washington declined to respond to the development on Friday.
FBI Agents Searched ‘Office 45’ at Mar-a-Lago
Court documents released Friday also offer new details about the search itself, revealing that FBI agents were only allowed access to specific locations inside Mar-a-Lago as they combed Trump’s resort residence for possible suspects. crime evidence.
The judge authorized the FBI to search what the office called the “45 Office,” an apparent reference to Trump’s place in history as the 45th president. Agents were also allowed to search “all other rooms or areas” at Mar-a-Lago that were available to Trump and his staff to store boxes and documents.
“Locations to be searched include ‘Office 45’, all storage rooms, and all other rooms or areas within the facility used or available for use by FPOTUS and its staff and in which boxes or documents could be stored. , including all structures or buildings on the estate,” the order says, using the acronym “FPOTUS” to refer to the former president of the United States.
The FBI’s warrant request to the judge specifically said that federal agents would prevent the areas from being rented or used by third parties, “such as members of Mar-a-Lago” and “private guest suites.” Trump owns the sprawling property, and it is his primary residence as well as a members-only club and resort.
“It is described as a mansion with approximately 58 bedrooms, 33 bathrooms, on a 17-acre property,” FBI agents told the judge in their application, describing the Mar-a-Lago property.
Trump did not oppose the release of the search warrant
The FBI’s search of the resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday was followed by days of silence from the Justice Department, as is normal department practice for ongoing investigations.
Then on Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the department had moved to disclose the search warrant and two attachments, including an inventory list, but also stressed that some of the department’s work must be done out of sight of the public.
“We do that to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans and to protect the integrity of our investigations,” Garland said, explaining that he would not provide further details based on the search.
Trump said in a late-night post on his Truth Social platform Thursday that he “would not oppose the release of documents” and was “going a step further by ENCOURAGED the immediate release of those documents.”
The court had ordered the Justice Department to consult with Trump about his request to unseal the warrant documents and set a deadline of Friday to report whether he opposed his release.
Trump’s team had been in contact with outside lawyers about how to proceed, and Garland’s announcement took the former president’s orbit by surprise.
In a pair of posts on Truth Social following Garland’s statement, Trump went on to state that his attorneys were “fully cooperating” and had developed “very good relationships” with federal investigators ahead of Monday’s search at Mar-a-Lago. .
“The government could have had whatever it wanted, if we had it,” Trump said. “Everything was fine, better than most previous presidents, and then, out of the blue and without warning, Mar-a-Lago was raided, at 6:30 in the morning, by VERY large numbers of agents and even ‘safecrackers’. ‘ ‘”
This story and headline have been updated with additional developments.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.
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