DOJ seeks answers on delay in finding classified Mar-a-Lago documents: report
The Department of Justice is seeking answers about a box containing classified materials that was moved to former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence after federal agents searched the property last August, CNN reported on Friday.
Trump’s lawyers reportedly found the box of presidential schedules, which contained a handful of classified materials, in December and notified the FBI, according to CNN.
The box appears to have sat in a Palm Beach office leased by the General Services Administration for much of 2022, explaining why it was not found during the FBI’s August search of Mar-a-Lago.
It was initially given to a junior Trump aide in the fall of 2021 for scanning, which she completed while working at the Mar-a-Lago “tennis cottage,” according to CNN. The box was then moved to the Palm Beach office in November 2021, before being moved back to the Mar-a-Lago bridal suite, where the junior aide was now working in the fall of 2022.
Trump’s legal team found the box in December, after searching Mar-a-Lago again at the request of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
“After we did the search in December and found within this box of thousands that there were a couple of pages that had a little marking at the bottom, which we turned over, after that, we found out that [the aide] had scanned the box so that it would be digitized,” Tim Parlatore, an attorney for Trump, told CNN.
“She had no idea that there was any classification markings on anything,” Parlatore added of the junior aide. “And as soon as we found out about that, we called up the DOJ to let them know and immediately provided them access to it.”
The aide was reportedly interviewed by investigators working for special counsel Jack Smith and provided her laptop password in response to a subpoena, according to CNN. Smith was appointed in November to oversee the Department of Justice investigations into Trump, including its probe into the former president’s handling of classified documents.
In the wake of the box’s discovery, Smith’s team has continued to investigate whether Trump had any knowledge of the box and its movements, CNN reported.
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