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Takeaways from the Mar-a-Lago search affidavit: Classified material, confidential sources, Trump’s retort

The affidavit gives insight in to the origin and depth of the Justice Departments investigation into Trumps handling of sensitive documents.


  • Highly classifiedinformation was within boxes of documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago in January.
  • Mar-a-Lago was deemed not secure by Justice Department lawyers.
  • DOJ officials cited concern for witness and police safety as known reasons for redacting the affidavit.

The redacted affidavit justifying the search of Donald Trumps Mar-a-Lago estate,made publicon Friday, offers new insight in to the origin and depth of the Justice Departments investigation in to the former president’s handling of sensitive documents.

Even though public is currently aware that the federal government executed a search warrant at the premises owned by the former President and seized documents marked as classified, the affidavit is replete with further details that could give a roadmap for anybody intent on obstructing the investigation, the newly unsealed documents read.

Listed below are the primary takeaways from the affidavit.

Trump search affidavit: Unsecured storage, confidential documents along with other revelations

Highly classified material at Mar-a-Lago

Highly classified information was contained in 15 boxes of documents initially recovered from Trumps Florida property in January, based on the affidavit. It had been the discovery of these documents that spurred the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation into thehandling of classified information along with other presidential records by Trump and his staff.

The affidavit for the search warrant lists 184 unique documents bearing classification markings, including 67 documents marked as confidential, 92 documents marked as secret, and 25 documents marked as ” inside info “.

FBI agents also found markings that indicated a few of the documents contained national defense information, and many of the documents contained what were Trumps handwritten notes, the affidavit said.

There’s probable cause to trust that additional documents which contain classified (National Defense Information) or which are Presidential records at the mercy of record retention requirements currently remain at the PREMISES, the affidavitstates. Addititionally there is probable cause to trust that proof obstruction will undoubtedly be bought at the PREMISES.

Confidential human source information found

On the list of documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago in January were records associated with clandestine human sources one of the most guarded information in U.S. intelligence.

The records, marked as “HCS,” are usually highly protected since it often indicates the material originated from an individual recruited by American intelligence who’s typically a foreigner with usage of another governments intelligence, leadership and defense secrets, experts previously told USA TODAY.

Information for the reason that category is normally locked away in highly secure government facilities, but rather was found mixed among Trumps personal property at Mar-a-Lago, potentially endangering crucial resources of information.

“You’re discussing people’s lives coming to stake,” said former federal prosecutor Sarah Krissoff.

Browse the affidavit: Browse the (redacted) document that supported the search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort

New alarms raised: Trump search affidavit reveals confidential source documents bought at Mar-a-Lago

Mar-a-Lago not secure

Several rooms at Trumps Mar-a-Lago resort where documents were stored like the storage room, Trumps residential suite Pine Hall and his office called the 45 Office were not currently authorized locations for the storage of classified information” or national defense information, the affidavit states.

In June, Justice Department lawyers warned Trumps legal team that the rooms holding sensitive material weren’t secure and really should be produced more impenetrable.

It would appear that because the time classified documents were taken off the secure facilities at the White House and moved to Mar-a-Lago on or about January 20, 2021, they will have not been handled within an appropriate manner or stored within an appropriate location, reads the DOJ’s June letter to Trump’s attorneys.

“Accordingly, we ask that the area at Mar-a-Lago where in fact the documents have been stored be secured and that all the boxes which were moved from the White House to Mar-a-Lago (alongside any items for the reason that room) be preserved for the reason that room within their current condition until farther (sic) notice,” the letter continues.

Redactions on redactions

The Mar-a-Lago search affidavit released Friday was heavily redacted, or edited retroactively, to eliminate confidential information along with other details which could impede the investigation. Alongside the affidavit, the Justice Department released a document designed to explain its reasoning for leaving some details under seal.

The majority of the Justice Department’s known reasons for redacting the affidavit are themselves redacted. But DOJ officials cited deep concern for the safety of witnesses, police agents and uncharged parties in its continuing investigation of the former presidents handling of classified documents.

First of all, the federal government must protect the identity of witnesses at this time of the investigation to make sure their safety, Justice officials wrote. As this Court noted, if information associated with witnesses were disclosed, chances are that even witnesses that are not expressly named in the Affidavit will be quickly and broadly identified over social media marketing along with other communication channels, that could result in them being harassed and intimidated.”

The investigations strategy and scope and grand jury information were also cited as reasons to help keep the affidavit at the very least partially sealed.

Redactions: Redacted affidavit justifying Trump Mar-a-Lago search released. Some tips about what was applied for.

Biden and Trump weigh in

Both former president and current one on Friday offered public reactions to the investigation into Trumps handling of sensitive documents.

Following the release of the Mar-a-Lago search affidavit, Trump blasted the Justice Department and U.S. Magistrate Bruce Reinhart, who ordered the revisedaffidavits release, for the heavily redacted nature of the document.

Affidavit heavily redacted!!! Nothing mentioned on Nuclear, a complete pr subterfuge by the FBI & DOJ, or our close working relationship regarding document turnover – WE GAVE THEM MUCH, he wrote on Truth Social, adding that Reinhart shouldn’t have allowed the search.

Trump’s “nuclear” comment likely identifies a Washington Post article which said that the FBI sought out classified documents associated with nuclear weapons at Mar-a-Lago.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden on Friday mocked his predecessors claim he had the energy to declassify national security documents without going right through the formal process.

A president can declassify everything on earth, he said sarcastically when asked about Trumps explanation for the a huge selection of pages of classified material he previously at his residence. Trump has said he previously a standing order that automatically declassified any documents he took from the Oval Office in to the private residence of the White House, however the long, detailed and precise process for declassifying information includes seeing any agency with a stake in the info and documenting what has been changed.

Cmon! Biden added, noting he couldnt comment further on the problem because he doesnt know the facts.

Contributing: Kevin Johnson, Kevin McCoy, Bart Jansen, Tami Abdollah, Maureen Groppe

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