WASHINGTON – The US National Archives discovered more than 700 pages of classified documents at Donald Trump’s Florida home, in addition to material seized this month by FBI agents, according to a newly disclosed May letter the records agency sent to the attorney for the former Republican president.
The vast amount of classified material in 15 boxes recovered in January by the National Archives and Records Administration, including documents marked “top secret,” provides more insight into what prompted the FBI to search Trump’s residence at the Mar -a-Lago in Palm Beach on Aug. 8, court authorized.
The agency is responsible for preserving government records.
The May 10 letter was sent by acting archivist Debra Steidel Wall to Trump’s attorney, Evan Corcoran. It was published late Monday by John Solomon, a conservative journalist who was authorized by Trump in June to access his presidential records. The National Archives then confirmed its authenticity and posted a copy on its website.
“Among the materials in the boxes are more than 100 classification-marked documents, comprising more than 700 pages. Some include the highest levels of secrecy, including Special Access Program (SAP) materials,” the letter said. Wall, referring to the security protocols reserved for some of the most protected documents in the country.
The letter contains additional information about Trump’s handling of classified materials and his efforts to delay federal officials’ review of the documents.
The letter shows that Trump’s legal team repeatedly tried to block the Archives from allowing FBI and intelligence officials to review the materials, saying it needed more time to determine whether any of the records were covered by a doctrine called executive privilege that allows a president to shield some records.
The administration of President Joe Biden—specifically, the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel—has determined that the materials were not covered by executive privilege.
According to the letter, it is “unprecedented” for a former president to be able to protect the records of a sitting president by using executive privilege when the materials in question legally belong to the federal government.
Even after Trump returned the 15 boxes to the Archives, the Justice Department remained suspicious that he had more secret material at Mar-a-Lago.
The Aug. 8 search was part of a federal investigation into whether Trump illegally removed White House documents when he left office in January 2021 following his unsuccessful 2020 re-election bid and attempted to obstruct the government’s investigation into the removal. of the records.
In a lawsuit Trump filed late Monday against the Justice Department over the record, he said he was served with a grand jury subpoena on May 11 seeking additional classified records.
On June 3, the department’s chief of counterintelligence and three FBI agents visited Mar-a-Lago to inspect a warehouse and collect additional records. Later that month, Trump received a second subpoena requesting security camera footage, which he also provided.
During the August 8 search, FBI agents recovered more than 20 additional boxes containing some 11 sets of records marked classified.