Trump held more than 300 classified documents after leaving White House: report
Former President Trump reportedly held on to more than 300 classified documents after leaving office, half of which were recovered in January by the National Archives, which alerted the Justice Department in what eventually led to the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago property.
The New York Times reported Monday, citing multiple sources who have been briefed on the matter, that the sheer volume of classified-marked material recovered by the government is what triggered a federal criminal investigation into the former president.
The National Archives in January recovered 150 classified documents, while another set, which was also at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, was given to the Justice Department in June by Trump aides. Additional classified documents were recovered in the FBI search earlier this month, totaling more than 300 such documents in all, according to the Times.
The 15 boxes turned over to the National Archives earlier this year included CIA, FBI and National Security Agency documents involving national security, according to a person briefed, the Times reported.
Three days after the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago, The Washington Post reported that some of the documents recovered in that search were related to nuclear weapons.
The Times also reported Monday that authorities are seeking surveillance video of Mar-a-Lago leading up to the Aug. 8 search in an effort to find out how some of the documents were being handled there.
An unsealed warrant executed at Mar-a-Lago made public days after the search revealed that federal authorities are investigating Trump for possible violations of the Espionage Act, among other statutes. A property receipt of items seized by the FBI shows authorities recovered a trove of materials, including 11 sets of classified documents, some of which were marked top secret.
Trump has insisted he declassified the documents obtained by the FBI, but it is possible he did so without following the proper protocols.
Trump and the National Archives have been at odds since he left office in 2021 after the agency determined he was in possession of White House documents that should have been turned over to the government when he ended his term.