The FBI seized 11 boxes of sensitive and “top secret” documents when they decided to storm former President Donald Trump’s oceanside estate on Monday, according to an exclusive report from The Wall Street Journal.
Reporters at the newspaper said they reviewed the seven-page warrant and a property receipt, which listed what federal agents grabbed when they searched the former president’s mansion at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach.
The report, which The Daily Beast could not independently verify, listed some of the items that were seized and placed into approximately 20 boxes. FBI special agents took photo binders, handwritten notes, vaguely described information on the “President of France,” and a copy of the executive grant of clemency for Trump issued for his associate, GOP operative Roger Stone.
The investigation into Trump is attempting to establish whether Trump unlawfully took highly sensitive documents from the White House and then failed to comply with requests from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and Justice Department to return them voluntarily. Earlier this year, NARA found 15 boxes of missing presidential documents at Mar-a-Lago. Some of the files had been “torn up by former President Trump,” NARA said in a statement at the time, forcing officials to tape them back together. It later emerged that NARA asked the Justice Department to look into whether Trump had potentially breached the Presidential Records Act, which stipulates that departing presidents hand over all records when they leave office. (Ironically, Trump signed a law in 2018 that made breaches of the Act a felony after Hillary Clinton’s email fiasco.)
On Friday morning, Trump denied a Washington Post report alleging that the feds carried out the search to locate classified documents about nuclear weapons, along with other items. He dismissed the report as a “hoax,” adding that those involved in the raid of his property were, in his view, “sleazy.”
Trump had also been critical of the search itself even while calling for the warrant to be unsealed. “Not only will I not oppose the release of documents related to the unAmerican, unwarranted, and unnecessary raid and break-in of my home in Palm Beach, Florida, Mar-a-Lago. I am going a step further by encouraging the immediate release of these documents,” he fumed in a post on Truth Social on Thursday night.
His screed came after Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the Department of Justice had filed a motion to unseal documents pertaining to the legal basis of the search. Garland added that he had personally approved the operation after “less intrusive means” of retrieving the documents proved fruitless.
The highly unusual disclosure—warrants typically remain sealed during an investigation—comes after a week of right-wing rage, with hardline loyalists repeatedly pushing the idea that the search was an illegitimate, politically motivated attack launched by a tyrannical regime. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential rival to Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, called the investigation a “weaponization of federal agencies.”
It was even a hill that at least one MAGA fan was literally willing to die on. Ricky Shiffer, a hard-boiled Trump stan who was enraged by the Mar-a-Lago search, was shot dead on Thursday after attempting an armed break-in at the FBI’s Cincinnati office. “Kill the F.B.I. on sight, and be ready to take down other active enemies of the people and those who try to prevent you from doing it,” an account using Shiffer’s name wrote on Truth Social on Tuesday.
The FBI raid was just the beginning of a torrid week for Trump’s legal team. Less than 48 hours later, Trump was hauled before a civil hearing with New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose office is investigating fraudulent practices in Trump’s business empire. The ex-president, who has previously criticized people who plead the Fifth, decided to do exactly that 440 times during the deposition. He announced his intention to keep schtum in a post on Truth Social on Tuesday evening, during which he dismissed the investigation as another “politically motivated witch hunt.”