Secret files ‘likely concealed’ at Trump’s home
Published: Sep 01, 2022 09:27 PM
Top secret documents found at Donald Trump's Florida home were "likely concealed" to obstruct an FBI probe into the former US president's potential mishandling of classified materials, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said in an explosive new court filing.

The filing released on late Tuesday provides the most detailed account yet of a 1.5-year-long effort to recover hundreds of classified documents that were improperly taken to Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate when he left office in January 2021.

And the claim of obstruction piles further legal pressure on the Republican ex-president - who denies all wrongdoing and has denounced an unprecedented FBI raid on his palatial home in ­August as part of a "witchhunt."

Trump's lawyers on Wednesday sought to downplay the federal government's discovery of highly classified records inside his Florida estate.

His legal team responded with a filing that described the government's pursuit of the documents as "unjustified," said the former president's possession of sensitive information "should have never been cause for alarm," and described the raid as "unprecedented, unnecessary, and legally unsupported."

The August 8 raid was triggered by a review of "highly classified" records that Trump finally surrendered to authorities in January 2022 - after months of back and forth with the National Archives and Records Administration.

The DOJ began investigating the matter after the 15 boxes were found to contain national defense information, including 184 documents marked as confidential, secret or top secret, a government affidavit showed.

After prompting from the FBI, Trump's lawyer would eventually turn over an additional 38 classified documents - and provide "sworn certification" that they represented the last of the material. But it did not stop there: The FBI went on to uncover "multiple sources of evidence" showing classified documents remained at Mar-a-Lago, the new filing says.