On his social media site Truth Social late Thursday night, former President Donald Trump said he won’t oppose a federal court in Florida unsealing the search warrant that authorized federal agents to search his Mar-a-Lago residence.
“Not only will I not oppose the release of the documents,” Trump said in a statement late Thursday, “I am going a step further by encouraging the immediate release of those documents.”
Trump’s comments came after the Department of Justice earlier Thursday filed a motion to unseal the search the warrant “absent objection from the former president,” putting the ball in the former president’s court.
The former president’s legal team has until 3 p.m. Friday to formally respond to the Justice Department’s filing.
Meanwhile, details of the documents begin to be uncovered.
►FBI agents who searched Donald Trump’s home this week retrieved boxes that included 11 sets of classified documents, said a person who has reviewed the documents. The person declined to discuss details of the documents.
►The Wall Street Journal reported that “agents collected four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents, and three sets of confidential documents. The list didn’t provide any more details about the substance of the documents.”
►The Washington Post reported Thursday that classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items sought by FBI agents in the search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence Monday, citing anonymous sources. Trump responded on Truth Social calling the report a “hoax.”
► The Palm Beach Post, part of the USA TODAY Network, filed court papers to ensure the entire search warrant that allowed FBI agents to search former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate – not just parts of it – are available to the public.
FBI agents who searched Donald Trump’s home this week retrieved boxes that included 11 sets of classified documents, said a person who has reviewed the documents.
The person declined to discuss details of the documents
The Wall Street Journal reported that “agents collected four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents, and three sets of confidential documents. The list didn’t provide any more details about the substance of the documents.”
– David Jackson
Federal agents who searched the Mar-a-Lago estate of former President Donald Trump removed 11 sets of classified documents, some marked as top secret, the Wall Street Journal reported.
A list of items removed from the property, obtained by the Journal, included binders of photos, a handwritten note, information about the “President of France” and the executive grant of clemency for Trump ally Roger Stone. Some 20 boxes of items were taken by the FBI.
The list, which is contained in a seven-page document that also includes the property search warrant, includes references to one set of documents deemed “Various classified/TS/SCI documents,” which is an abbreviation for “top secret/sensitive compartmented information,” according to the Journal. Agents also collected four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents and three sets of confidential documents, according to the list obtained by the Journal.
The FBI did not seek access to search private guest rooms, but did ask for access to “the 45 Office” and “all storage rooms and all other rooms or areas within the premises used or available to be used by [the former president] and his staff and in which boxes or documents could be stored, including all structures or buildings on the estate,” the Journal reported.
– Ella Lee
Trump records investigation:From early red flags to the search at Mar-a-Lago
After an armed man attempted to breach the FBI’s Cincinnati field office and a wave of anger directed against federal law enforcement following the search of Donald Trump’s Florida estate, the FBI urged the public Friday to report suspicious activity to authorities.
“The FBI is always concerned about violence and threats of violence to law enforcement, including the men and women of the FBI,” the bureau said in a statement. “We work closely with our law enforcement partners to assess and respond to such threats, which are reprehensible and dangerous.
“As always, we would like to remind members of the public that if they observe anything suspicious to report it to law enforcement immediately.”
The suspect in the Ohio incident, who was later fatally shot in a standoff with police, may have been posting messages to the former president’s Truth Social site during the incident.
FBI Director Christopher Wray defended the bureau Thursday against the increasing stream of threats, saying that “unfounded attacks on the integrity of the FBI erode respect for the rule of law and are a grave disservice to the men and women who sacrifice so much to protect others.”
– Kevin Johnson
The paperwork isn’t out yet, but Donald Trump supporters are already attacking the Mar-a-Lago search warrant as insufficient.
Their basic argument is “nothing to see here” – no matter what the documents say.
Team Trump also seems to be betting that the release will not include an affidavit that includes specific information about what the ex-president is accused of doing. They are also planning renewed attacks on Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“The expectations for the warrant should be tampered down,” tweeted Rudy Giuliani, a former lawyer for Trump. “To weigh the justification, if any, Garland must release the affidavit. Right now we are getting the ‘run around.'”
Trump allies are likely seeking to take advantage of a familiar Catch-22: The government suspects someone of dealing in sensitive classified information, but don’t want to detail it publicly because it could undercut national security.
Other attorneys point out that, if the warrant is that meaningless, Trump could have released it days ago.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., another ally of Trump, tweeted: “Attorney General Garland must release the information as to why a warrant was necessary, not what was taken … They can redact the names and other sensitive information, but DOJ must lay their cards on the table.”
– David Jackson
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her weekly news conference offered few details and little reaction to the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago.
Pelosi, who said she has 30 years of experience with national intelligence, said she hasn’t been formally briefed on the situation and knows only what’s in the public domain.
She did express some concern, however, about reports that suggest Trump was storing sensitive information at Mar-a-Lago about nuclear weapons.
“I think what is important to know now is the seriousness of what these documents were alleged to be about…Our concern is always to protect and defend,” Pelosi said.
She did not answer whether there will be a Congressional committee or investigation convened to look into the material Trump was storing.
Citing anonymous sources, the New York Times reported that investigators were concerned about Trump having material from “special access programs,” which the Times described as a designation saved for sensitive operations carried out by the United States abroad or closely held technologies and capabilities.
Trump’s purported possession of such material has raised concern among government officials that the information could be vulnerable to acquisition efforts by foreign adversaries, the Times reported.
Also citing anonymous sources, The Washington Post reported that classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items sought by federal agents.
— Ella Lee
In a Friday press conference, Republican members of the House intelligence committee raised concerns over the Monday search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence by federal agents, calling on the Justice Department to release additional information about the reason it was executed.
“We love our law enforcement officers. We would protect and defend them to thank them for their service, but when we have a brewing matter of distrust, we have to get to the bottom of it and fix it,” Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., a former FBI agent, said of the search.
Though the committee Republicans said they supported rank-and-file members of the FBI and Justice Department, several questioned whether the agencies’ leadership authorized the search for political reasons. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., the No. 3 House Republican, claimed without evidence that the raid was the Biden administration’s attempt to act against his political opponent.
Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, ranking member of the committee, said that he and other committee members are “certainly” concerned about unsecured classified information possibly being in a storage area, but added that the documents are just one piece of the puzzle.
“Donald Trump has more classified information in his head than he does in his desk,” Turner said.
— Candy Woodall, Ella Lee
While Donald Trump’s legal troubles are focused, for now, on the search of his Florida estate, a high-profile lawyer has joined the former president’s legal team to deal with a far-reaching criminal investigation into election interference led by the Atlanta-area district attorney.
Drew Findling, a former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and counselor to rap artists and professional athletes, will now advise a former president, along with attorneys Jennifer Little and Dwight Thomas.
“We are committed to fighting this misuse of the law and taxpayer resources,” Findling’s firm said in a statement. “The team is confident that there have been no violations of Georgia law. The focus on President Trump may be newsworthy, but this investigation is wholly misdirected and politically driven.”
Findling has long been a prominent figure on the Atlanta legal scene who not only maintains a distinguished client list but a colorful Twitter account that carries the hashtag #BillionDollarLawyer.
— Kevin Johnson
Trump under scrutiny:Mar-a-Lago document inquiry is one of many investigations Trump faces
Lawyers, journalists, government officials and political professionals across the world are busy refreshing websites Friday while waiting to see records from the search of Donald Trump’s home.
Only one thing unites them: No one has any idea when the search warrant and related documents will actually surface.
Could be Friday; could be next week.
The only thing known is that Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart asked the Justice Department to submit a filing by mid-afternoon today:
“On or before 3:00 p.m. Eastern time on August 12, 2022, the United States shall file a certificate of conferral advising whether former President Trump opposes the Government’s motion to unseal.”
Reinhart then has to decide when and how to order release of the documents – and no one is saying how that might play out.
For one thing, the Justice Department will likely redact details they say are related to national security, the trigger for the search in the first place.
In the meantime: Keep refreshing.
— David Jackson
The man who authorities say attempted to breach security at an Ohio FBI office Thursday morning may have been posting messages to former President Donald Trump’s Truth Social site, even as he was engaged in the attempted incursion.
The man, who was shot and killed after a standoff that lasted much of the day, was identified to the Associated Press and others as Ricky Shiffer. A USA TODAY review of online postings by an account in that name shows the account had recently posted angry reactions to news of the FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Florida home. The same account posted during or just after the incursion at the FBI, appearing to describe the man’s efforts.
“Well, I thought I had a way through bullet proof glass, and I didn’t. If you don’t hear from me, it is true I tried attacking the F.B.I., and it’ll mean either I was taken off the internet, the F.B.I. got me, or they sent the regular cops while”
The post apparently ended mid-sentence. Truth Social deleted the profile for “@rickywshifferjr” Thursday afternoon, shortly after media reports began identifying Shiffer.
— Will Carless
Read the whole story here:Suspect in Cincinnati FBI breach may have posted on Trump’s Truth Social during incident
Republican members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence will offer their defense of embattled former President Donald Trump during a 9 a.m. news conference Friday at the Capitol, where they will demand more answers about the Monday search at Mar-a-Lago.
Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, the lead Republican on the committee, said Thursday he was “unaware of any actual or alleged national security threat posed by any information, data or documents in the possession of former President Trump.”
A report from the Washington Post Thursday night said, “Classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents sought” at Mar-a-Lago.
That was of concern to Rep. Val Demmings, D-Fla., one of the majority members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
“The Justice Department should continue to act with total independence as it works to safeguard classified national security secrets,” she said Thursday night.
— Candy Woodall
Although the Justice Department on Thursday moved to unseal a warrant that allowed FBI agents to search former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, The Palm Beach Post filed court papers to ensure the entire warrant – not just parts of it – are available to the public.
In the motion filed late Thursday, the Post joined other news organizations that claim the release of all documents connected to the warrant is needed to rein in wild speculation about why the nation’s top law enforcement agency took the unprecedented step of asking to search the home of a former president. The request to unseal the warrant could keep key parts of it off-limits to the public, said attorney Martin Reeder, who is representing the Post.
“The scope of all the warrant materials is broader than what the government is addressing,” Reeder said. “The government is only speaking to some of these documents.”
The Palm Beach Post is part of the USA TODAY network.