Trump ‘likely hid’ top-secret documents in his home, Justice Department says

Trump ‘likely hid’ top-secret documents in his home, Justice Department says

Top-secret documents seized from the Florida residence of former US President Donald Trump were ‘likely withheld’ to hinder the federal police investigation against him, says a Justice Department document released Tuesday night See you on Wednesday. This procedural document explains in the most detailed way to date the reasons which led the American federal police (FBI) to search in a spectacular fashion on August 8 the residence of the former Republican president to recover extremely confidential documents. which he had not returned after leaving the White House, despite multiple requests.

Multiple sources of evidence

The investigation seeks in particular to determine whether Donald Trump or his relatives engaged in criminally reprehensible conduct by seeking to prevent the FBI from recovering these documents, details the Department of Justice. Prior to the operation, the FBI uncovered “multiple sources of evidence” showing that “classified documents” were still in Donald Trump’s sprawling Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, it says. Police “also had evidence that government documents were likely concealed and taken away…and that acts were likely performed to obstruct their investigation,” the court document continues.

The Department of Justice describes in particular how FBI agents first went to Mar-a-Lago in June to retrieve several files, a member of Trump’s team providing them with “an affidavit” that he they were the last to be in the residence. But during the August search, federal police found about 30 boxes with documents so sensitive, ranging “from confidential to top secret”, that FBI and Justice Department lawyers had to seek “clearances”. additional” before being able to consult them, it is specified.

The actions described by the Department of Justice show “deliberate deception” and the “extremely irresponsible” behavior of Donald Trump’s inner circle, blasted elected Democrat Adam Schiff, chairman of a congressional intelligence committee. .

Trump denounces a “witch hunt”

On the last page of the report, a striking photo shows documents seized by federal police, stamped “Top Secret”, strewn across a floral-patterned carpet. “It’s horrible how the FBI, during the raid at Mar-a-Lago, threw documents haphazardly on the ground (perhaps to make it look like I did it! )”, replied Donald Trump on his Truth Social platform on Wednesday, assuring that he had declassified them beforehand.

The Republican, who flirts with the idea of ​​a candidacy for the presidential election of 2024, has been denouncing for months a “witch hunt” led against him by the administration of his successor, and believes that justice would not have “never had to authorize this break-in” at his home. The Department of Justice, for its part, indicates that it has explained the process which led to the search in order to “correct the incomplete and inaccurate account presented in the declarations” of Donald Trump.

The ministry’s statement responds to the request made last week by the former president to have an independent expert examine the documents seized from his home by the FBI. But appointing this third party could block investigators’ access to documents, and justice should not do so “because these documents (seized) do not belong” to Donald Trump, underlines the Ministry of Justice. Such a measure “is not necessary and would seriously harm the interests of the State, including in terms of national security”, it is written.

The investigation and search at Mar-a-Lago were triggered by the handing over in January to the National Archives Agency, responsible for recording presidential activities for history, of 15 boxes of documents taken by Donald Trump to his leaving the Oval Office. Some of these documents included the sign “HCS”, which in the language of the American intelligence services designates information provided by “human sources”, informants and other undercover agents. Examination of these boxes convinced the FBI that others still had to be kept by the former president.

Investigators thus suspect Donald Trump of having violated an American law on espionage which very strictly regulates the possession of confidential documents. The billionaire is also the target of investigations into his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and his role in the assault by his supporters on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. He is not yet prosecuted. in no business.

Reference: www.europe1.fr

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