At least one lawyer for former US president Donald Trump signed a written statement in June asserting that all material marked as classified and held in boxes in a storage area at Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and club had been returned to the government, four people with knowledge of the document said.
The written declaration was made after a visit on June 3rd to Mar-a-Lago by Jay I Bratt, the top counterintelligence official in the Us justice department’s national security division.
The existence of the signed declaration is a possible indication that Mr Trump or his team were not fully forthcoming with federal investigators about the material. And it could help explain why a potential violation of a criminal statute related to obstruction was cited by the department as one basis for seeking the search warrant used to carry out the search of the former president’s home Monday.
It also helps to further explain the sequence of events that prompted the justice department’s decision to conduct the search after months in which it had tried to resolve the matter through discussions with Mr Trump and his team.
An inventory of the material taken from Mr Trump’s home that was released Friday showed that FBI agents had seized 11 sets of documents during the search with some type of confidential or secret marking on them. The search encompassed not just the storage area where boxes of material known to the justice department were being held but also Mr Trump’s office and residence.
Mr Trump said Friday that he had declassified all the material in his possession while he was still in office. An spokesman for the former president, Taylor Budowich, said Saturday, “Just like every Democrat-fabricated witch hunt previously, the water of this unprecedented and unnecessary raid is being carried by a media willing to run with suggestive leaks, anonymous sources and no hard facts.”
The warrant said FBI agents were carrying out the search to look for evidence related to possible violations of the Espionage Act and a statute that bars the unlawful taking or destruction of government records or documents, as well as of the obstruction law. No one has been charged in the case. — This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
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