The FBI seized over 50 empty folders marked “CLASSIFIED” during last month’s raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
According to a more detailed property receipt of the seized documents, the FBI discovered 43 empty folders with classified banners in Trump’s office and several others in the former president’s storage room.
It is uncertain whether the photo the DOJ recently released that showed classified folders scattered across the floor included any of the empty folders the FBI seized.
— Joel Pollak (@joelpollak) September 2, 2022
Federal Judge Aileen Cannon ordered the DOJ to unseal a more detailed property receipt during a hearing on Thursday. The first property receipt released shortly after the Mar-a-Lago raid only mentioned nondescript items, such as “Miscellaneous Top Secret Documents,” and “Various classified/TS/SCI documents.”
The unsealed property receipt also showed the FBI seized more than 40 empty folders marked “Return to Staff Secretary/Military Aide.” Some government documents were in boxes mixed with personal items like newspapers and magazines.
Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich said the newly released property receipt shows FBI agents conducted a “SMASH AND GRAB” of Trump’s documents.
“The new “detailed” inventory list only further proves that this unprecedented and unnecessary raid of President Trump’s home was not some surgical, confined search and retrieval that the Biden administration claims, it was a SMASH AND GRAB,” Budowich tweeted.
“These document disputes should be resolved under the Presidential Records Act, which requires cooperation and negotiation by NARA, not an armed FBI raid.”
These document disputes should be resolved under the Presidential Records Act, which requires cooperation and negotiation by NARA, not an armed FBI raid. 2/2
— Taylor Budowich (@TayFromCA) September 2, 2022
Judge Cannon also ordered the DOJ to unseal the status report of the team investigating Trump’s seized documents. That status report, also released Friday, confirmed the DOJ has completed its “preliminary review” of the seized documents but noted the review is one step in its “ongoing process in this active criminal investigation.”
“The seized materials will continue to be used to further the government’s investigation, and the investigative team will continue to use and evaluate the seized materials as it takes further investigative steps, such as through additional interviews and grand jury practice,” DOJ attorneys said.
In Thursday’s hearing, Judge Cannon delayed her decision on Trump’s request to appoint a Special Master, an independent watchdog who would review the seized documents before the DOJ could continue to use the documents in its investigation.
Trump’s legal team argued any documents seized from Mar-a-Lago were similar to an “overdue-library-book scenario” on Thursday.
“We’ve characterized it at times as an overdue-library-book scenario where there’s a dispute — not even a dispute — but ongoing negotiations with [the National Archives] that has suddenly been transformed into a criminal investigation,” Trump lawyer James Trusty said.
Trump’s attorneys also argued Judge Cannon was in a “unique position” to “help restore public confidence” in the DOJ.