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Certain areas of Republican news are putting out the feelers to move on from Trump.

Watch this:

This morning Fox's Steve Doocy repeatedly criticized the right's "harmful rhetoric" against the FBI (rhetoric that's been frequent on Fox). He seemed to be speaking to Trump here: "It would be great if he called for an end to the violent rhetoric against federal law enforcement."

When trying to put Donald Trump’s norm-breaking existence into perspective, it has become a cliche to ask, “What if so-and-so did it?”

This intellectual exercise helps us bypass our partisan blinders. For example, what would you have said if Barack Obama had refused to concede the election? What would you have said if Black Lives Matter supporters had stormed the Capitol? After asking and answering these questions, it would be impossible for an intellectually honest conservative to justify Trump’s behavior.

The FBI’s search of Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago, reportedly, in at least part, to retrieve nuclear documents (Trump says that’s a “hoax”)—presents the latest opportunity for such introspective contemplation: What if Bill Clinton had left office and taken boxes of sensitive classified documents with him? What if you read about Hunter Biden doing coke with a pile of national security documents around him?

To some degree, we don’t have to strain our imaginations that much. Hillary Clinton’s emails (which I contend was a legitimate issue, regardless of any national security implications) evoked calls to “Lock her up” and slogans like “Hillary for Prison.”

But don’t hold your breath thinking consistency will win the day. Trump survived the Access Hollywood scandal, his disgraceful handling of Charlottesville, and two impeachments. He also lost re-election, sabotaged GOP control of the U.S. Senate, attempted a coup to remain president after losing, and incited a riot at the Capitol. These are simply facts.

The truest thing Trump ever said was probably that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, and he “wouldn’t lose any voters.” He’s done irreparable harm to his party and his country—and Republican voters still overwhelmingly support him.

Can you blame Republican politicians for concluding that resistance is futile?

Unfortunately, this conclusion created somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Republican politicians had only believed they could make him go away, it’s likely they could have mustered ten more votes to convict him in the Senate (a step toward disqualifying him from holding federal office ever again). Trump can’t be stopped because Republicans have come to believe he can’t be stopped.

Sure, they’re also afraid of his voters. But there is a sense that Trump is invincible. That he’s above the law. As such, the only way Trump’s monopoly will ever end is if his luck finally runs out and the spell is broken.

The cleanest way for this to happen would be in the form of a sort of deus ex machina. That could take the form of smoking-gun evidence emerging which shows Trump committed a crime that transcends some technicality, and he’s indicted and goes to jail. The fallout is immense, but he is gone.

A less likely scenario (since the most obvious window of opportunity has already passed) is for political leaders to move against him, and for this to persuade enough of Trump’s supporters to matter.

These both seem like laughable scenarios in 2022 America. Outside of the criminal justice system, the most likely path to a post-Trump world (after the missed opportunity to convict him in the Senate) was for Trump to fade away and be replaced.

Ironically, the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago makes that path less likely, assuming it plays out like all the other “unprecedented” scandals. Indeed, it’s likely this is actually helping Trump get re-elected and killing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s momentum as a potential primary rival.

Maybe the evidence seized was so valuable that the risk of turning Trump into even more of a martyr justified the raid. Otherwise, either the Feds obtained enough evidence to put him away, or they may have just put him in the White House. When dealing with Trump, Napoleon’s maxim that “If you start to take Vienna, take Vienna” rings true. Anything that doesn’t kill his political career probably makes it stronger.

Now, I would like to believe that conservatives—particularly those who value national security—will appreciate the especially serious nature of this breach—and react accordingly. Is it possible that this threat is so serious that it could move the needle when everything else—including Jan. 6—didn’t? In the past, national security has been cited as a reason why Trump shouldn’t be elected president.

In 2016, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio declared that we can’t give “the nuclear codes of the United States to an erratic individual.”

Well, we did. The question is, do you think we should have let him keep our nuclear documents forever? Is this breach something we’re willing to ignore and defend?

A handful of Republican governors have criticized the “outrageous rhetoric” of their party colleagues in the US Congress, who have accused federal law enforcement officers of a politicized attack on former president Donald Trump after executing a court-approved search warrant on his Florida home this week.

Maryland governor Larry Hogan, a Republican moderate, described attacks by party members as both “absurd” and “dangerous”, after a week in which certain Republicans have compared the FBI to the Gestapo and fundraised off the slogan: “Defund the FBI”.

Speaking to ABC News on Sunday, Hogan described the comparisons of the FBI to Nazi Germany’s secret police, made by Florida senator Rick Scott, as “very concerning to me, it’s outrageous rhetoric”.

He added: “It’s absurd and, you know, it’s dangerous,” especially after an armed man enraged by the raid was killed in Ohio when he tried to invade an FBI office. “There are threats all over the place and losing faith in our federal law enforcement officers and our justice system is a really serious problem for the country.”

On Monday, FBI agents executed a search warrant at the former president’s private members club and residence in south Florida with an unsealed warrant later revealing Trump is under investigation for potential violation of the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice over his alleged mishandling of classified documents.

The episode inflamed conservative commentators and politicians still deeply loyal to the former president, and was followed by the attack on the FBI field office in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Thursday, which led to a six-hour armed standoff that left the lone gunman shot dead.

Hogan, who is rumored to be considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, argued that many of his colleagues in Washington had been “jumping to conclusions without any information, which I think was wrong”.

He added that revelations in the unsealed warrant were a “serious concern” but argued investigators should provide further details on the contents of the seized documents.

Hogan’s comments were followed by remarks from Arkansas’s Republican governor Asa Hutchinson, who appeared on CNN on Sunday and partially mirrored his Maryland counterpart.

“If the GOP is going to be the party of supporting law enforcement, law enforcement includes the FBI,” Hutchinson, a former US prosecutor and private practice attorney, said.

He added: “We need to pull back on casting judgment on them. … No doubt that higher ups in the FBI have made mistakes, they do it, I’ve defended cases as well, and I’ve seen wrong actions. But we cannot say that whenever they [FBI officers] went in and did that search that they were not doing their job as law enforcement officers.”

The comments marked a growing split on the extremist rhetoric from certain Republican party members following the execution of the search warrant. Many senior senate Republicans have remained largely quiet in the wake of the unprecedented law enforcement action, while others have appeared on conservative news channels supporting baseless accusations that the FBI planted evidence during the search.

The Republican congresswoman from Wyoming Liz Cheney, a ranking member on the House committee investigating the January 6th attack on the US capitol, has condemned her colleagues’ rhetoric as “sickening”.

“I have been ashamed to hear members of my party attacking the integrity of the FBI agents involved with the recent Mar-a-Lago search,” Cheney wrote on Thursday. “These are sickening comments that put the lives of patriotic public servants at risk.”

Her stance is slowly being mirrored by other House Republicans after the warrant was made public on Friday.

Dan Crenshaw, a Republican congressman from Texas told Axios on Saturday that sloganeering against the FBI “makes you look unserious”. And ranking homeland security committee member John Katko told the website: “This is not something you rush to judgment on. ... It’s incumbent upon everybody to take a deep breath.”

Meanwhile on Sunday, the White House continued refraining from commenting on the search warrant. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre repeatedly declined to answer questions on the matter during an interview with ABC News, citing the US justice department’s independence on law enforcement matters.

When shown video of comments made by House Republican Elise Stefanik, a staunch Trump loyalist, who described the search as “complete abuse and overreach” by the FBI, Jean-Pierre broadly fired back.

She said: “The Department of Justice, when it comes to law enforcement, is independent. This is what we believe, and this is what the president has said. This is not about politicizing anything. That is not true at all.”

Jean-Pierre added a reminder that US attorney general Merrick Garland was confirmed by the US Senate in bipartisan vote, and that Trump nominated FBI director Christopher Wray to his position in 2017.

  • A Fox News host asked whether Trump tried to sell the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago.

  • Eric Shawn wondered whether Trump tried to "sell or share" files "to the Russians" or "the Saudis."

  • Shawn's speculation came amid Trump's growing ire against Fox News programs like "Fox & Friends."

A Fox News host on Sunday wondered aloud whether former President Donald Trump might have attempted to sell the classified documents he kept at Mar-a-Lago to Russia or Saudi Arabia.

Speaking during a live broadcast on Fox News Sunday, Eric Shawn raised one possibility about what Trump could have done with the classified documents the FBI found during its search of Trump's Florida residence.

"And more questions are being raised this morning. Did former President Trump try to sell or share the highly classified material to the Russians or to the Saudis or others?" Shawn asked.

"Or were the documents innocently mishandled and stored because he thought he had a legal right to have them?" he added.

Shawn then referenced reports from Russian state media that the materials might have been leaked to parties in Russia before segueing into an interview with the intelligence analyst Rebekah Koffler.

Shawn's comments came amid a wave of pushback from some Fox News hosts against the former president and his allies over the Mar-a-Lago raid.

For instance, on Thursday, the Fox News host Steve Doocy confronted GOP Rep. Steve Scalise on air, asking him: "I'm just curious, whatever happened to the Republican Party backing the blue? And, in particular, the 35 members of law enforcement, federal law enforcement, at the FBI?"

Doocy's comments came after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and other Republicans lashed out at the FBI and law enforcement over the Mar-a-Lago raid, with Greene calling for the agency to be defunded.

Separately, Doocy told House GOP Chair Elise Stefanik that the FBI's raid was "kind of a big deal" given that agents were looking to retrieve classified documents "related to nuclear weapons."

The Fox News host Bret Baier — who in July criticized Trump over the Capitol-riot panel's public hearings — also rejected Trump's baseless claim that President Barack Obama had mishandled documents, too.

"There is a process. President Obama, according to NARA and that statement and everything we know, followed the processes to get those documents to Chicago," Baier said, referring to the National Archives and Records Administration.

He added that the "difference" between Trump and Obama was that in the latter's case, the sensitive documents were "handled properly."

In July, Trump expressed his unhappiness with "Fox & Friends," a talk show he was known to do nearly weekly calls with during his presidency. In a Truth Social post, he called the talk show "terrible" and said it had "gone to the dark side" after one of its hosts — Doocy — questioned his poll numbers.

But Trump appears to still have some supporters on Fox News. Last week, the host Jesse Watters claimed without substantiation that the FBI could have planted evidence at Mar-a-Lago. And on Friday, Fox News aired a digitally altered photo that showed the body and face of the federal judge who signed off on the Mar-a-Lago search warrant superimposed on an old image of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.

The FBI removed 11 sets of classified documents — some of which were marked top secret and concerned nuclear weapons, according to The Washington Post — from Mar-a-Lago after executing a search warrant on the property last week. The Justice Department is now investigating whether Trump broke three federal laws, including the Espionage Act.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Monday said Americans might be ready “to turn the page” on former President Trump as he decides whether to run for president a third time.

“People conflate Trump with people’s overall sense of happiness in the country. Donald Trump’s been a friend of mine for 25 years, and I’m always very open about this on my show. But, you know we’ll see whether that’s what the country wants,” Ingraham said during an appearance on Lisa Boothe’s podcast. “The country I think is so exhausted. They’re exhausted by the battle, the constant battle, that they may believe that, well, maybe it’s time to turn the page if we can get someone who has all Trump’s policies, who’s not Trump.”

Trump has unleashed a streak of populism in the Republican Party that might not appeal to voters writ large in 2024, Ingraham theorized.

“The other problem is that it’s really not about Trump, right, this is about the views that Trump now brought to the floor for the Republican Party,” Ingraham said. “They don’t like his views, they don’t like the fact that he called out the military for their failures, that he wanted us to pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan. That he wanted to treat China and our trade relationship with China in a much — it was smarter, but much different way than the globalists preferred. And they certainly didn’t like the fact that he sent all those illegal immigrants back to Mexico with that Remain in Mexico.”

Ingraham has been among Trump’s longest and most loyal supporters in the conservative media ecosystem, just last week attacking the Justice Department and FBI following the search warrant executed at the former president’s Florida home in connection with an investigation into classified documents reportedly taken from the White House.

“When we get power back, it’s time to hold everyone accountable. The military leadership, the civilian leadership, the civil service, those in Congress who have abused their power, all of them have to held accountable,” Ingraham said on her prime-time show, hours after news of the search broke.

The Fox News host is one of several who the Jan. 6 House select committee found was texting with then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, imploring him to get Trump to do something to stop the rioting at the Capitol that day.

The relationship between top talent at Fox and Trump is closely watched by media watchdogs and political analysts as the former president flirts with another White House bid.

On Monday morning, “Fox and Friends” host Steve Doocy called on the former president to “tamp down the rhetoric” against the Justice Department and FBI following the Mar-a-Lago search and implore his supporters not to threaten members of federal law enforcement.

“Whatever we can do to help — because the temperature has to be brought down in the country,” Trump told a Fox News hours after Doocy’s remarks. “If it isn’t, terrible things are going to happen.”

Tucker has been "away", and Laura seems to be sending a signal that the jig is up. Did FOX finally get the memo that Murdoch had sent to all his print publications?

Ding ding ding. It’s officially “Operation DeSantis 2024”

Folks, I don’t know how many times I’ve got to drill this into your head—If you want to know about the political machinations of the GOP, don’t look at Tucker,’s ALL about Ingraham!! And right now, it’s % Operation Ron DeSantis!!

Although there are many rivals for the title, this week’s FBI search at Mar-a-Lago, the apparent mishandling of classified information that led to it, and the political fallout since is close to the paradigmatic Donald Trump scandal.

The story is at once totally new and unexpected and yet entirely of a piece with everything we know and have seen from Trump. Both Trump and his most bitter opponents have noted that the search of a former president’s home is unprecedented—Trump to claim it was unjust, his critics to highlight his misdeeds—but it shares three important characteristics with previous Trump scandals. First, Trump is singularly terrible at keeping secrets. Second, Trump always says that what Democrats, especially Barack Obama, did was worse or caused it. Third, there are always more developments yet to come, and it always gets worse.

Documents about Tuesday’s search released today don’t offer many details, but they indicate that agents seized “miscellaneous top secret documents.” The warrant also cites three federal laws: the Espionage Act, which involves information about national defense; a second that involves obstruction of investigations by destroying or hiding documents; and a third related to unlawful removal of records.

None of these documents describe the specific contents of what was seized, but The Washington Post reports that FBI agents were seeking “classified documents relating to nuclear weapons” when they executed their warrant. The New York Times says simply that documents involved “related to some of the most highly classified programs run by the United States.” The Wall Street Journal adds that agents seized 11 sets of classified documents, “including some marked as top secret and meant to be only available in special government facilities.”

In statements responding to the stories, Trump didn’t bother to deny the claims about nuclear information. “President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified. How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!” In a second statement this afternoon, he added, “Number one, it was all declassified. Number two, they didn’t need to ‘seize’ anything. They could have had it anytime they wanted.” Trump has no evidence for his claim about Obama’s presidential papers including nuclear secrets (and the National Archives already released a statement disputing Trump’s claim); he has offered no proof the information seized was declassified (the cited laws would apply anyway, and as my colleague Graeme Wood writes, even the president can’t declassify nuclear secrets); and the Department of Justice seems to have sought the warrant only after Trump failed to turn over all documents that the government requested.

The idea that a former president would be investigated for absconding with sensitive nuclear secrets is almost unbelievable. Speaking on CNN on Tuesday, the longtime Republican operative Alice Stewart set a hyperbolically high bar for the search. “Doing such a raid to this magnitude, a search to this extreme—anything short of finding the nuclear codes at Mar-a-Lago is going to hugely backfire on the Biden administration,” she said.

In fairness to Stewart, how could she have known? And yet, how could she have been so naive? He’s been here before. Trump is both an inveterate braggart and a terrible secret-keeper. In May 2017, the same week he fired FBI Director James Comey for refusing to protect him personally, Trump disclosed classified information (reportedly obtained from Israel) to the Russian foreign secretary and ambassador during a White House meeting. In April 2019, he posted a photo of an explosion at an Iranian facility, over the objections of intelligence officials, who worried it would undermine future American spying. Later that year, he blabbed about nuclear systems to the reporter Bob Woodward.

Woodward’s sources were surprised by Trump’s loose lips, but they shouldn’t have been. Trump most likely wasn’t sharing these things because they were national-security matters; he was sharing them because they were secrets he could share. This is, after all, a man who leaked about his own extramarital affair to the press. In any case, the U.S. intelligence community became consistently worried about sharing secret information with Trump, for fear he’d spread it, as Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times notes.

The deflection to Obama, conspicuously including the 44th president’s middle name, is telling as well. Trump’s political career is comprehensible only as a response to his predecessor. Though he’d flirted with politics in the past, Trump only began exploring the possibility seriously after Obama’s election. His political movement was driven by racial backlash against a Black president. Specifically, Trump became a political player by making himself the foremost spokesman for the false claim that Obama had not been born in the United States and was not a citizen, and many accounts of his decision to run for president pinpoint Obama ridiculing him at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner as a turning point.

Ever since, Trump has sought to blame Obama whenever he gets into a scrape. When he was criticized for sycophancy to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, he accurately pointed out that Russia seized Crimea during Obama’s presidency. When his former national-security adviser Michael Flynn was accused of lying to the FBI, Trump insisted without evidence that this was a conspiracy by the Obama administration. Now he’s turning to whataboutism to defend himself in the document fiasco.

His political allies are ready to buy this argument. The Mar-a-Lago search has, at least initially, rallied the Republican Party around him after months of attenuation. That could change based on new information, but in the past the pattern has been for Republicans to first recoil from Trump and then regroup around him. They haven’t even bothered with the first step here.

Yet the warrant serves as a reminder of a lesson of the Trump administration that could otherwise be forgotten with time: The story always gets worse. After Trump attempted to steal the 2020 election and then incited a violent mob to attack the Capitol to disrupt Congress, one might have imagined Trump had just about reached his nadir. Once you’ve disrupted the peaceful transfer of power, what other depths are there to plumb? And yet the investigations into the paperwork coup and January 6 insurrection have continued to turn up disturbing details, revealing Trump’s role in the whole nightmare to have been one not of passive acceptance but active instigator.

One can never take comfort in the idea that surely the worst has already come to pass with Trump. Who could have imagined things getting worse than the Access Hollywood video? Or than the week of the Comey firing? Or than the coddling of neo-Nazis marchers in Charlottesville, Virginia? Or than attempted blackmail of the Ukrainian government for electoral gain? Every time, Trump manages to find a new way to shock and appall, and every story gets worse.

David A. Graham is a staff writer at The Atlantic.

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Oooh boy. It wasn't just about retrieving the files. It's an ONGOING CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION!

Donald Trump's legal predicament may have worsened, legal experts said, after a bombshell report published Saturday evening by The New York Times.

"The Justice Department also subpoenaed surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago recorded over a 60-day period, including views from outside the storage room. According to a person briefed on the matter, the footage showed that, after one instance in which Justice Department officials were in contact with Mr. Trump’s team, boxes were moved in and out of the room," Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush reported. "That activity prompted concern among investigators about the handling of the material. It is not clear when precisely the footage was from during the lengthy back-and-forth between Justice Department officials and Mr. Trump’s advisers, or whether the subpoena to Mr. Trump seeking additional documents had already been issued.

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti noted the story and tweeted, "It sounds like DOJ has reason to be concerned that it *still* may not have recovered all of the classified material taken by Trump."

Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks said, "obviously that raises many questions since it was false. If true, FBI couldn't have left with 21 more boxes in August."

Related video: Restricted documents at Mar-a-Lago raise questions about legal exposure of Trump aides

Law Prof. Rick Hasen wrote, "Do any of us doubt that someone besides Trump or someone in Trump's orbit who lied about possessing such documents and didn't give them back would already be held in custody pending further proceedings?"

Attorney Pam Keith said Attorney General Merrick Garland "still hasn’t detained or even questioned Trump. People are acting like that’s normal or justifiable. Given what we know, It’s INSANE!!"

"So what’s the excuse today for Trump not being arrested?" Keith asked. "I stand by my conclusion that Garland is too scared."

Bestselling author Don Winslow wanted Trump indicted long ago.

"What happened when Donald Trump was not indicted for 50 years? He became President of the United States and committed four more years of crimes," Winslow wrote. "When does it stop?"

Bill Kristol, who served as Vice President Dan Quayle's chief of staff said, "Whoa. Let me amplify. WHOA."

In SDFL, the USA files its response to unsealing motions addressing the affidavit. Link.

DOJ is appropriately resisting disclosure of the Mar A Lago search affidavit because it will compromise their ongoing investigation. This is very standard and right. That said, what they said -- especially about witnesses -- will invariably drive Trump to be even more worried

DOJ’s worried about witnesses’ identities, this means people are turning on Trump from within.

Also, Laura Ingraham (part of Fox News’ big 3, along with Hannity and Tucker) is pleading for the Republican Party to move on from him.

It’s all over, folks.

The govt does not want to unseal the affidavit and it it does it will be heavily redacted. There is way too much in that to just release it. I hope the Magistrate Judge denies the release. FYI I think #45 has been charged so it may moot the issue and trigger CIPA.

FBI has info online re criminal cases. “If the agency concludes that a crime was committed and identifies a suspect, federal law enforcement officers (known as special agents) may make an arrest without obtaining an arrest warrant;…”

… “may obtain an arrest warrant for a named person; or, in some circumstances, may delay making an arrest in order to obtain additional evidence proving the suspect’s guilt.” So they retrieved the docs & know there’s incriminating evidence in having them in the first place!

Remember the peanut butter sandwich Navy spy. Guy & his wife received jail time. It’s similar re nuclear technology stolen while on the job. It’s the same thing! No one should have that info in their possession, in their beach club, on their person or showing docs to randoms!

Yes! Remember the peanut butter sandwiches? … “he provided the agent with documents containing restricted details about Virginia-class submarines, which are nuclear-powered fast attack warships.”

There’s fun case info on official gov sites. Watch movie Breach re worst spy in history re Robert Hanssen espionage case. @eoneill must have harrowing real life stories! He helped catch Hanssen. They always think they’ll get away w/these crimes & slip up.

There’s also Walker case. “In 1985 former US Navy warrant officer John Anthony Walker was arrested for selling US secrets to Soviet Union. Walker’s espionage began in 1967 when he walked into Soviet Embassy in DC w/material that allowed Soviets to read encrypted naval messages.”

Walker recruited his family. “John & Arthur Walker were each sentenced to life in prison. Michael Walker was sentenced to 25 years in prison & was paroled in 2000. Jerry Whitworth was sentenced to 365 years & a fine.” John Walker died in prison in 2014.

BREAKING: the DoJ has filed their motion in opposition of unsealing the affidavit related to the search warrant executed at MAL (multiple media outlets have filed to get the affidavit. 1/

The DoJ says that there would be so many redactions to the affidavit to protect the ongoing NATIONAL SECURITY investigation that it doesn’t make sense to unseal it, but if the court orders it, the DoJ wants to be able to redact it. 2/

The DoJ DOES NOT object to unsealing the cover sheets, the government’s motion to seal, and the court’s sealing order with modest redactions 3/

Full filing here thanks to @politico

There was a theory the warrant was only to recover classified stuff, not for criminal investigation. That theory is gone now. The government opposes release of the affidavit because it would compromise a continuing investigation.

Search warrant included "all physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime or other items illegally possessed...""as well as any other containers/boxes stored together with the aforementioned..."

Full copy of the government's opposition.

"Here, the government has a compelling, overriding interest in preserving the integrity of an ongoing criminal investigation." p. 7.

For the record, Rule 6e prohibits the release information related to grand jury proceedings.

Note that the opposition is signed by Jay Bratt, the Chief of the DOJ branch that investigates espionage violations and determines whether to prosecute espionage cases. This establishes his continued, deep, involvement in this case.

NEW: Justice Dept asks to keep sealed the Mar-a-Lago affidavit to prevent revealing the direction of the criminal investigation — worsening distrust inside Trump’s circle that has no insight into where DOJ goes next. @GuardianUS

The US Justice Department has asked a judge not to release the affidavit that gave the FBI probable cause to search Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, worsening distrust among top aides casting about for any insight into the intensifying criminal investigation surrounding the former president.

The affidavit should not be unsealed because that could reveal the scope of the investigation into Trump’s unauthorized retention of government secrets, the Justice Department argued, days after the Mar-a-Lago search warrant showed it referenced potential violations of three criminal statutes.

FBI agents a week ago seized around 20 boxes of materials – including documents marked Top Secret – executing a search warrant which referenced the Espionage Act outlawing the unauthorized retention of national security information that could harm the United States or aid an adversary.

“The affidavit would serve as a roadmap to the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course,” the justice department said, adding that it did not oppose unsealing both a cover page and a sealing order that wouldn’t harm the criminal investigation.

In arguing against unsealing the affidavit, the justice department also said that the disclosure could harm its ability to gain cooperation from witnesses not only in the Mar-a-Lago investigation but also additional ones that would appear to touch on the former president.

“Disclosure of the government’s affidavit at this stage would also likely chill future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses, as well as in other high-profile investigations,” prosecutors added.

The existence of potential witnesses who could yet cooperate in a number of investigations against Trump – seemingly people with intimate knowledge of the former president’s activities – rattled close advisors once more Monday, further deepening distrust inside his inner political circle.

The lack of insight into what the justice department intends to do with the investigation into Trump’s unauthorized retention of government documents has deeply frustrated the Trump legal team and aides alike in a week of perilous moments for the former president.

At least one lawyer on the Trump legal team – led by former assistant US attorney Evan Corcoran, who also acted as the lawyer for Trump’s top former strategist Steve Bannon – has called up a reporter covering the story for any insight into how the justice department might next proceed.

It added to the already fraught atmosphere inside the reduced group of advisors who have day-to-day roles around Trump that erupted shortly after the FBI departed Mar-a-Lago and sparked suspicions that a person close to the former president had become an informant for the FBI.

That speculation came in part amid widening knowledge about how the FBI might have established probable cause that there was a crime being committed at Mar-a-Lago using new or recent information – to prevent the probable cause from going “stale” – through a confidential informant.

According to multiple sources close to Trump, suspicions initially centered on Nicholas Luna, the longtime Trump body-man who stepped back from his duties around March, and Molly Michael, the former Trump White House Oval Office operations chief, who remains on payroll but is due to soon depart.

Luna was subpoenaed by the congressional investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack but has not spoken to the FBI about this case, one of the sources said. And although Michael is slated to also leave Trump’s orbit, the source said, her departure – like Luna’s – is not acrimonious.

The focus in the middle of the week shifted to Mar-a-Lago employees and other staff at the members-only resort in Palm Beach, Florida, the sources said, seemingly in part because the FBI knew exactly which rooms and where in the rooms they needed to search.

But towards the weekend, and following the revelation that the FBI removed a leather-bound box from the property and already knew the location of Trump’s safe, scrutiny shifted once more to anyone else who had not yet been suspected – including members of Trump’s family, the sources said.

A spokesperson for the former president did not respond to a request for comment. Calls to Trump lawyers went unanswered or straight to voicemail. The justice department declined to comment on the investigation or Monday’s request.

Nonetheless, the escalating distrust and rampant speculation about an informant has started to reach dizzying levels, even by the standards of the Trump presidency, which was characterized in many ways by competing interests and political backstabbing, the sources said.

It remains unclear whether the FBI relied on confidential informants, and the Guardian first reported that the search came in part because the justice department grew concerned that classified materials remained at Mar-a-Lago as a result of interactions with Trump’s lawyers.

At least one Trump lawyer signed a document – apparently falsely – attesting to the justice department that there were no more classified materials left at Mar-a-Lago after federal officials in June removed 10 boxes worth of government records, the sources said, confirming a New York Times report.

This isn't a good sign. One of TFG's lawyer called up a reporter on the story, asking what the DOJ might do next.

ime the best white collar crime attorneys expect to learn things from prosecutors *before* journos.

DOJ is on-record in court citing witness intimidation as a reason to keep the affidavit sealed. Obviously, this is a really smart move by them, but it’s still shocking to see it in a court filing and know that we’re talking about a former POTUS.

Also, right-wing TikTok is collectively losing their final marble. They seem to think that IRS agents are going to come seize their guns, and they’re all crowing about civil war.

The problem is that years of media manipulation convinced Americans that Trump is a “businessman”; his unfortunate, anomalous “election” made people think he’s a “president”.

But these are huge category errors.

Trump (shown here with “Fat Tony” Salerno & Roy Cohn) is a MOBSTER.

NEW: DOJ is also worried the release of the FBI affidavit underlying the Mar-a-Lago search would "chill future cooperation" by witnesess — particularly when threats related to Trump probe are "not merely a hypothetical concern."

The Justice Department intends to unseal additional documents connected to the FBI search at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate but is urging a federal court to maintain the secrecy of the sworn affidavit describing the basis for the search.

The DOJ is particularly concerned that the release of details from the affidavit might harm ongoing efforts to interview witnesses, given the threats to federal agents in wake of the Mar-a-Lago search.

“If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap to the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, in a manner that is highly likely to compromise future investigative steps,” U.S. Attorney Juan Gonzalez and Justice Department counterintelligence chief Jay Bratt said in a filing urging the continued secrecy of the affidavit.

“The fact that this investigation implicates highly classified materials further underscores the need to protect the integrity of the investigation and exacerbates the potential for harm if information is disclosed to the public prematurely or improperly,” the DOJ officials wrote.

Instead, DOJ is urging the court to unseal a redacted document that includes additional filings connected to the search warrant, including a cover sheet, DOJ’s motion to seal the warrant on Aug. 5 and the judge’s sealing order issued the same day.

Among DOJ’s concerns about releasing the underlying information is that witnesses might stop cooperating, particularly “given the high-profile nature of this matter.”

“Disclosure of the government’s affidavit at this stage would also likely chill future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses, as well as in other high-profile investigations,” Gonzalez and Bratt say, adding “This is not merely a hypothetical concern, given the widely reported threats made against law enforcement personnel in the wake of the August 8 search.”

Throughout the filing, DOJ makes references to its ongoing criminal investigation connected to the search — a probe that last week’s release of the search warrant revealed to include potential crimes related to the mishandling of classified materials and presidential records, as well as obstruction of Justice. Revealing the affidavit, DOJ noted Monday, would jeopardize that probe.

“Here, the government has a compelling, overriding interest in preserving the integrity of an ongoing criminal investigation,” the DOJ officials argued.

The filing cites news reports about an uptick in threats against FBI agents as well as an attack by an armed man against an FBI building in Cincinnati last week.

Although the magistrate judge overseeing the case, Bruce Reinhart, is not bound by DOJ’s request to maintain the secrecy of the affidavit, it would represent an extremely rare step, even in cases of less national significance. DOJ acknowledged that the decision is Reinhart’s and said that if he chooses to release the affidavit, the department would propose significant redactions “so extensive as to render the remaining unsealed text devoid of meaningful content.”

“The release of such a redacted version would not serve any public interest,” Gonzalez and Bratt wrote.

House and Senate lawmakers in both parties have demanded additional details pertaining to the search executed at Trump’s home, which was related to an effort to retrieve highly classified documents and other presidential records that Trump had warehoused there.

Sworn affidavits that undergird search warrants are typically sealed until charges are issued or an investigation is closed. They are typically provided by an FBI agent connected to the case and attest to the reasons the bureau believes there is probable cause of a crime.

Nicholas Wu and Josh Gerstein contributed to this report.

NBC News: The Senate Intelligence Cmte. is requesting that DOJ and ODNI "provide the Committee with the classified documents that were seized in the search of Mar a Lago, and an assessment of potential risks to national security as a result of their mishandling." @NBCNews

Oh and as for Trump's passports:

If Trump is accurate here (big if), this is ominous: Trump now claims FBI agents seized three of his PASSPORTS during the Mar-a-Lago raid

  • Donald Trump claimed his passports were 'stolen' in the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago

  • If true, he cannot leave the country

  • 'Wow. In the raid by the FBI or Mar-a-Lago, they stole my three Passports (one expired), along with everything else,' he said on Truth Social

  • Trump likely has a regular blue passport issued to U.S. citizens and a red 'diplomatic' passport issued for official government travel

  • He would have received a diplomatic passport as president

The Justice Department has hit back at Donald Trump's claim the FBI stole his passports during the raid on his Mar-a-Lago mansion.

An insider told CBS the agency does not have the documents but added whatever was seized that was not on the warrant will be returned.

It comes after the former president on Monday claimed his passports were taken, which would mean he could not leave the country.

He called it an 'assault on a political opponent.'

'Wow. In the raid by the FBI or Mar-a-Lago, they stole my three Passports (one expired), along with everything else.

'This is an assault on a political opponent at a level never before seen in our country. Third World,' he wrote on his Truth Social social media account.

He likely has a regular blue tourist passport issued to U.S. citizens, a red passport issued for official government travel and a black 'diplomatic' passport. He could have received the black and red passports as president.

Also, U.S. citizens are allowed more than one blue passport book if they are frequent flyers, such as if they need to apply for more than one visa at a time.

But, without a legal passport, Trump would not be able to travel outside of the United States.

It's unclear what passports were seized, and, if it was done because the former president is considered a flight risk. It's also unclear if Trump currently has a valid passport in his possession.

Trump's office did not immediately respond to's inquiry.

The former president has been battling back since he announced his Palm Beach residence was raided by federal agents, including warning the FBI and Department of Justice that 'terrible things' will happen in the United States if the 'temperature' doesn't come down.

Trump told Fox News Digital that he has offered to do 'whatever he can' to fix the simmering tensions because people are 'so angry at what is taking place'.

Federal law enforcement agencies are warning of 'an increase in threats and acts of violence' directed at FBI personnel after agents executed a search warrant on Trump's Florida home.

Days after the raid, a man who posted regularly on Trump's Truth Social site tried to breach the FBI's Cincinnati field office in Ohio, armed with an AR-15 style rifle and a nail gun. He fled the scene and was later killed in a standoff.

On social media, there has been increased chatter about a civil war and threats of violence against FBI agents.

Trump also told Fox News Digital that he had his representatives reach out to the DOJ to offer assistance as outrage in his base ensues over the FBI's raid on his private residence.

'People are so angry at what is taking place,' Trump told Fox when asked about reaching out. 'Whatever we can do to help—because the temperature has to be brought down in the country. If it isn't, terrible things are going to happen.'

He added: 'The people of this country are not going to stand for another scam.'

Trump's comment on Monday that it is an 'assault on a political opponnet' reflects a strategy adopted by him and his family, as they have gone on the defense, where they have accused President Joe Biden of having ordered the raid.

The White House said the president found out about the raid from public reports.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said he 'personally approved' the raid, which was part of a federal investigation into documents Trump took with him after he left the White House. According to federal law, any presidential records are the property of the federal government.

Garland did not give any additional details about the investigation but said the Justice Department requested the warrant and inventory list be made public due to the high level of public interest in the investigation.

And the White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Sunday that President Biden hasn't been briefed on it at all.

'Not been briefed. We have not interfered,' she said on ABC's This Week.

During Monday's raid of Trump's Florida home, FBI agents took 11 sets of classified documents, photographs and other files marked 'top secret' among boxes of items.

In all, FBI agents took 27 boxes of documents, according to the federal warrant.

The inventory of items taken by the agents includes some specific items, including an 'Executive Grant of Clemency: Re Roger Jason Stone Jr' - a former Trump adviser who was pardoned in the last days of Trump's presidency - and 'info re: President of France.'

The list also includes more generic labels like 'Various classified/TS/SCI documents.' In the national security world, the 'TS/SCI' abbreviation generally refers to Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information - available only to those with the highest level of clearance.

Also listed are four sets of 'top secret' documents, three of 'secret' documents and three sets of 'confidential' documents, but the receipt offers no further information about what they contained.

Lawyers for Trump insist that as president he had the power to declassify the documents before leaving office.

Trump also has accused the FBI of taking documents that fall under attorney-client priviledge and demanding their return.

'Oh great! It has just been learned that the FBI, in its now famous raid of Mar-a-Lago, took boxes of privileged 'attorney-client' material, and also 'executive' privileged material, which they knowingly should not have taken,' Trump said Sunday on Truth Social.

He said that the FBI should consider his post on the alternative social media site his formal request that the documents be returned to his Palm Beach estate.

'By copy of this TRUTH,' Trump wrote on Sunday, 'I respectfully request that these documents be immediately returned to the location from which they were taken. Thank you!'

Monday's raid was part of a longer-running investigation into documents Trump took with him when he left the White House.

Under the Presidential Records Act, all such documents must be turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration at the end of each presidential administration.

The law declared all presidential and vice presidential records property of the federal government, with 'custody, control and preservation' of the records delegated to the National Archives when a president leaves office.

Trump returned 15 boxes to the Archives earlier this year. But, on Monday, in a day-long search, agents went through storage space at Mar-a-Lago and areas in Trump's personal residence, removing more material.

Folks -- USG employees can get official passports for traveling on official business, which is separate from a personal passport. Normally you give up your official passport when you leave gov, but I assume former POTUSes have them indefinitely which is likely why TFG had 2

It’s possible that Trump retained his red “government official” passport, and a black “diplomatic” passport, which he no longer has a right to. Those would be “government records” seizable pursuant to the warrant.

Former President Trump *might* be talking about the black diplomatic passport that every president gets — the cover says “THE BEARER IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES” — although it’s unclear if an outgoing president has to surrender it.

An e-mail mix-up reportedly led to the unauthorized release of personal information — including passport numbers — belonging to President Obama and 30 other world leaders who attended last year’s Group of 2o summit in Brisbane, Australia. The Guardian reported that, according to e-mails obtained in an Australian freedom of information request, an employee of Australia’s immigration office accidentally sent the information to an organizer of the Asian Cup soccer tournament.

The e-mail contained passport numbers, visa numbers, dates of birth and other personal identifying information for Obama and the leaders of Russia, Germany, China, Britain, India, Japan and Indonesia, among others, according to the Guardian.

And yes, presidents really do have passports (and visas) that they use to travel around the world, likely racking up a massive number of customs stamps in the process.

According to the White House, which demystified the process in this very helpful video, Obama’s passport was newly minted when he became president. It’s just like yours: It has his photo and he’s signed it and everything. Except that his says: “THE BEARER IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.”

The White House’s advance staff keeps it locked up in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, along with the passports of other White House staffers.

It appears that the leak in Australia was chalked up to simple user error: An employee in Australia’s Immigration Department dashed off an e-mail a little too quickly and was foiled by Microsoft Outlook, it seems.

“The cause of the breach was human error. [Redacted] failed to check that the autofill function in Microsoft Outlook had entered the correct person’s details into the email ‘To’ field. This led to the email being sent to the wrong person,” an official said in an e-mail reporting the breach to Australia’s privacy commissioner.

The official added that the person who accidentally received the information brought the mistake to the attention of the e-mail sender.

Shortly after the e-mail was sent, officials in Australia’s privacy office were notified. And according to Australia’s Immigration Department, the sensitive information was immediately deleted.

“The department has reviewed and strengthened its email protocols to limit and contain future breaches,” a spokesman for the Immigration Department told Australia’s ABC News.

Still, the mix-up is probably a very minor security risk, according to Australian officials, who noted that the absence of other identifying information makes the risks of the breach “very low.”

The White House declined to comment.

Juliet Eilperin contributed to this report, which has been updated.

This is possible. I thought about diplomatic passports originally, but I was under the impression those were to be given back after you leave office.

You don’t have to give them back, but they should only be used when in govt travel.

Good info. I had a “special issuance/official passport” that had to be returned when I was no longer at that post

Assumed diplo were the same

Many people wind up with multiple expired passports, though they are sent back with a hole punch. Assuming Trump’s second one was his presidential passport, he apparently doesn’t realize that it expired at noon on Jan.20, 2021.

Isn't this a moot point? Who in the world wouldn't know Donald Trump...passport or not? I think a data transfer from our government saying 'send him back' would reach every airport quicker than tfg's 757.

So Trump team now publicizing this email, which shows:

1) DOJ obtained three passports (two expired, not one, as Trump said) and alerted Trump lawyers

2) They were recovered by a filter team, which weeds out privileged info.

3) Trump publicized this after DOJ offered them back

Trump spokesman @TayFromCA released the email in response to CBS reporting that the FBI was not in possession of Trump’s passports. The email shows that at least as of early afternoon today, investigators did have them.

They did seize three passports, two had expired, and DOJ has made all of them available for pick-up at @FBIWFO, including his active diplomatic passport. The filter team deemed the passports returnable. No idea why he keeps his diplomatic passport unless other FPOTUS’s have one.

Trump had to be dragged overseas when he was pres. He hates leaving the states. Probably afraid he won't be allowed back in. As @StephenKing's mom would say, "He needs a passport like a hen needs a flag" It is just something to fuss about.

Still not one interview from Trump since the search. No Fox, no Newsmax, no OAN, no Podcasters, no Lindell TV, no nothing. And this right after taking the 5th 440 times. Still banging out those posts on Truth Social though - where nobody can ask him a question.

Donald Trump has demanded the return of some documents seized by the US justice department in an FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida last week – apparently under the impression that posts on his Truth Social platform carry legal weight.

In a post on Sunday, the former president wrote: “By copy of this Truth, I respectfully request that these documents be immediately returned to the location from which they were taken. Thank you!”

It is generally held that social media posts are not legal documents.

According to an actual legal document, a search warrant unsealed on Friday, records concerning top secret national security matters were among those seized by the FBI. It has been reported that some such documents concerned nuclear weapons.

Trump has called the nuclear weapons report a “hoax” and claimed to have had authority to declassify top secret records while in office. No evidence has been produced that he did declassify the records in question.

On Saturday, citing anonymous sources, Fox News reported that in the search at Mar-a-Lago last Monday, the FBI seized boxes “containing records covered by attorney-client privilege and potentially executive privilege”.

Fox News also said anonymous sources said the justice department turned down Trump lawyers’ request to have such records reviewed by an independent third party.

Trump’s post on his Truth Social platform – which he launched after being thrown off Twitter over the Capitol attack – appeared to be in response to the Fox News report.

He also said: “Oh great! It has just been learned that the FBI, in its now famous raid of Mar-a-Lago, took boxes of privileged ‘attorney-client’ material, and also ‘executive’ privileged material, which they knowingly should not have taken.”

The former president has used claims of mistreatment to boost fundraising and positioning for a potential presidential run in 2024, his complaints echoed by supporters in the Republican party and across the American right.

Among them, Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota argued on Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press that releasing the affidavit that persuaded a judge to permit the FBI search “would confirm that there was justification for this raid”.

“The justice department should show that this was not just a fishing expedition,” Rounds said.

The Ohio congressman Mike Turner, the top Republican on the House intelligence committee, said: “We want to know what did the FBI tell them?”

On Monday afternoon the justice department said it objected to requests to unseal the affidavit, as doing so would “cause significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation”, possibly by “chill[ing] future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses, as well as in other high-profile investigations”.

The DoJ also said: “The fact that this investigation implicates highly classified materials further underscores the need to protect the integrity of the investigation and exacerbates the potential for harm if information is disclosed to the public prematurely or improperly.”

Trump continued to rage on Truth Social, claiming both that “Republicans could win many additional seats, both in the House and Senate, because of the strong backlash over the raid at Mat-a-Lago” and that the FBI “stole my three passports (one expired), along with everything else”.

He added: “This is an assault on a political opponent at a level never seen before in our Country. Third World!”

John Dean knows a thing or two about assaults on political opponents, having been White House counsel under Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal 50 years ago.

He told CNN Trump and his allies “don’t seem to want to appreciate that the FBI and other federal law enforcement, as well as state and local, they enforce search warrants every day, against every kind of person”.

“And there’s a reason Trump provoked this,” Dean said. “He’s the one who didn’t cooperate. He’s the one who forced [US attorney general] Merrick Garland’s hand. We don’t know what it is [Trump] has or had.

“Garland isn’t a risk-taker. He isn’t a guy who’s bold and goes where no one else has ever gone. He’s somebody who does it by the book, so I think these people are going to have egg all over their face when this is over.”

Trump has claimed the Mar-a-Lago search is comparable to the 1972 break-in at the Washington offices of the Democratic National Committee which fueled and christened the Watergate scandal.

On Saturday, a Fox News host also went to the Nixonian well, citing a famous claim about presidential authority the disgraced 37th president made in an interview with David Frost in 1977.

Will Cain said: “You know, if I listen to alternative media today, and they’re telling me, ‘Oh, classified documents, no one is above the law, right? The rule of law applies to everyone.’

“I’m curious. When it comes to classified documents, famously, President Nixon said, if the president does it, then it is not illegal. Is that not truly the standard when it comes to classified documents? The president has the ability to at any time declassify anything.”

Experts agree that is not the standard when it comes to handling classified material. Furthermore, Nixon himself backed away from his infamous claim.

After the Frost interview, Nixon said: “I do not believe and would not argue that a president is above the law. Of course he is not.

“The question is what is the law and how is it to be applied with respect to the president in fulfilling the duties of his office.”

FYI: His lawyers have NOT filed anything in court to dispute the search warrant or anything. All we hear is them on the talking shows and social media.

It got worse

Trump didn’t just steal nuclear secrets

He also stole the names & payroll records of our SPIES

The only reason why he would take this intel is to sell it to our enemies

The Saudi-funded LIV tournament & Kushner’s $2 billion from Mohammed Bone Saw look more damning by the day

Our enemies would risk the lives of their own spies to acquire this intel

This isn’t some boring archival document that Trump can telepathically declassify in his little noggin

This scumbag has endangered the lives of those in our intelligence community

Newsweek reports that the documents Trump stole include payroll records for US spies. Exactly the kind of thing for which Putin or Saudi Arabia would pay the Trump family billions. Was there a bidding war the Saudis won with their $2 billion to Jared?

In pursuing the unprecedented search of Donald Trump's residence on Monday, the FBI was seeking to retrieve Top Secret and "compartmented" documents dealing with intelligence "sources and methods," two federal government sources tell Newsweek—documents with the potential to reveal U.S. intelligence sources, including human sources on the American government payroll.

This greatly complicates any public discussion of the documents or any substantiation of Trump's potential violation of U.S. law. The sources, who were briefed on the investigation, requested anonymity in order to discuss sensitive information.

"Compartmented" is a specific term meaning "classified information concerning or derived from intelligence sources, methods, or analytical processes, which is required to be handled within formal access control systems established by the Director of National Intelligence." It includes a variety of different access categories—for example, human, intercept, satellite sources—each of which limits how many people can know the nature of the compartment. One of the government sources says that "special access program" information was involved in the Mar-a-Lago case, a further category of information limited to an even smaller group of people.

Intelligence sources familiar with the classification system and the investigation say that neither the search warrant nor the inventory, if unsealed, will likely answer most people's questions about whether the search was necessary.

"In order to prove that this was a matter of national security and essential to be done in this way, some detail on what Trump was keeping will have to be revealed," one intelligence officer, granted anonymity to speak about an ongoing investigation, tells Newsweek. "That might be difficult for the government precisely because of the sensitivity of the documents."

Under normal circumstances, investigators write a detailed list of all the materials taken from a person or property that is searched, filing a copy of that inventory with the court that approved the search warrant. But in the case of classified documents, the inventory list might be intentionally vague: for example, "ten documents, numbered 1 through 10, consisting of 65 pages, stamped Top Secret and above." Since the assumption is that the search warrant might become public, neither the inventory nor the search warrant would include any classified information.

The former president does not have authority to declassify such documents, intelligence sources say, because they are classified under statute rather than by executive order. Trump's possession of those documents and the fact that he was secreting them away came to light in the course of a multi-month federal government investigation that focused on the status of presidential records taken from the White House.

On Monday morning, FBI agents and technicians arrived at Donald Trump's Florida residence and presented the former president's attorneys a search warrant to retrieve highly classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. According to Trump spokespeople, the FBI investigators were focused on three rooms at the residence. Trump said that the FBI had broken into at least one safe of his, presumably in the Trump office or bedroom where it was found.

The information as to the whereabouts of the documents, Newsweek previously reported, came from a confidential human source, presumably someone inside the Trump camp. While not acknowledging any details of the investigation, on Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland stated that the Justice Department was asking that the search warrant and the inventory of property taken from Mar-a-Lago be released by the court. That request has to be agreed to—officially, not just in public statements—by Donald Trump.

Given the political firestorm that the search at Mar-a-Lago provoked, questions about the documents are of critical importance. If they were merely "routine," as Trump insists, then the search will be seen as politically motivated. The fury might be quelled if the documents are indeed revealed to be highly classified and sensitive, and the Justice Department can prove that the former president was holding onto them with no intention of giving them back. The public might conclude that the search was valid and necessary.

The road to the search at Mar-a-Lago began 18 months ago in the transition from the Trump to the Biden administration. In inventorying presidential records, the National Archives and Records Administration concluded that there were additional documents that were in Donald Trump's possession that were "presidential records" and not personal papers and thus needed to be returned to the Archives.

Months of negotiations followed, and in January 2022, 15 boxes of such boxes were turned over to the Archives. That collection led to further suspicions that the Trump camp still possessed more. Federal investigators began interviewing Trump White House and Mar-a-Lago staffers to determine what was moved. Those interviews, and a broader investigation overseen by a U.S. Attorney resulted in a grand jury subpoena served on Trump in late May to produce specific documents.

According to John Soloman, a journalist with Just the News who has also served as one of Donald Trump's liaisons to the National Archives, the subpoena requested any remaining documents Trump possessed with any classification markings, even if they involved photos of foreign leaders, correspondence or mementos from his presidency.

On June 3, three FBI special agents and a senior Justice Department official visited Mar-a-Lago to discuss any additional documents in response to the subpoena. The visiting officials were shown the basement storage room where White House records were stored, and in fulfillment of the subpoena, left with "a small number of documents," according to Soloman. The documents were classified as Top Secret and were compartmented, according to people familiar with the investigation. Trump and his spokespeople say the visit was cordial and that the Trump camp fully cooperated.

After the June visit, according to the Trump camp, communications with the investigators ceased until agents showed up on Monday to execute the search warrant. According to people familiar with the search, the decision to escalate the matter to a surprise search came because investigators concluded that additional documents were at Mar-a-Lago—documents so sensitive, they had to be retrieved in order to protect national security.

The search warrant was approved by the Florida magistrate on Friday, August 5, and three days later, the FBI showed up at Mar-a-Lago to execute the search. Some 12 additional boxes of records were hauled away. The FBI inventoried what was taken and left behind a two-page inventory with Trump's lawyers.

In the aftermath of the search, the Trump camp insists that President Trump had the right to declassify information, and thus none of the records were classified. Kash Patel, a Trump loyalist who served in intelligence and defense positions in the administration (and who also identifies himself as one of Donald Trump's representatives to the National Archives), told the Just The News podcast that Trump was the "ultimate arbiter" of the classification of a document and thus there could be no wrongdoing.

That characterization is incorrect, experts say, because documents that are covered by statute, and not classified under presidential executive order, cannot be classified or declassified by the president. That includes nuclear secrets (under the Atomic Energy Act) and documents that might identify CIA case officers or agents (under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982). The Washington Post has reported that the documents sought at Mar-a-Lago related to nuclear weapons.

That law labels as a CIA sources "an individual, other than a United States citizen, whose past or present intelligence relationship to the United States is classified information and who is a present or former agent of, or a present or former informant or source of operational assistance to, an intelligence agency."

Bill Leonard, who as head of the Information Security Oversight Office for six years in the Bush administration and oversaw this system, makes a clear distinction between information that is classified pursuant to the President's Article Two constitutional authority as commander-in-chief and those that are classified by statute, such as nuclear secrets and intelligence sources and methods regarding human agents. "That sort of information and other sensitive intelligence sources and methods are protected pursuant to law, not necessarily protected pursuant to the president's unilateral classification authority," Leonard told Grid this week. "So even an incumbent president does not have total, unfettered authority to declare information unclassified at will. Certainly, a former president has no authority to declassify any sort of information."

Trump stole payroll records of US Spies. This is information that Saudi Arabia and Russia would, or may have already paid “billions” for.

This brings Kusner’s 2 billion dollar investment from the Saudis into play in a big way.

Buckle Up. #FreshResists

Documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago could include names of CIA sources in Moscow - NBC News

bad time to remind tfg *routinely* burned intel sources?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump disclosed highly classified information to Russia’s foreign minister about a planned Islamic State operation, two U.S. officials said on Monday, plunging the White House into another controversy just months into Trump’s short tenure in office.

The intelligence, shared at a meeting last week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, was supplied by a U.S. ally in the fight against the militant group, both officials with knowledge of the situation said.

The White House declared the allegations, first reported by the Washington Post, incorrect.

“The story that came out tonight as reported is false,” H.R. McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser, told reporters at the White House, adding that the leaders reviewed a range of common threats including to civil aviation.

“At no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed. The president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known...I was in the room. It didn’t happen,” he said.

Russia’s foreign ministry said reports that Trump had revealed highly classified information were “fake”, according to the Interfax news agency.

The White House also released a statement from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who said the Oval Office meeting focused on counterterrorism, and from Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell, who called the Washington Post story false.

Still, the news triggered concern in Congress.

The Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin, called Trump’s conduct “dangerous” and “reckless”.

Bob Corker, the Republican head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the allegations “very, very troubling” if true.

“Obviously, they’re in a downward spiral right now and they’ve got to come to grips with all that’s happening,” he said of the White House.


The latest controversy came as Trump’s administration reels from the fallout over his abrupt dismissal of former FBI Director James Comey and amid congressional calls for an independent investigation into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

One of the officials said the intelligence discussed by Trump in his meeting with Lavrov was classified “Top Secret” and held in a secure “compartment” to which only a handful of intelligence officials have access.

After Trump’s disclosure of the information, which one of the officials described as spontaneous, officials immediately called the CIA and the National Security Agency, both of which have agreements with a number of allied intelligence services around the world, and informed them what had happened.

While the president has the authority to disclose even the most highly classified information at will, in this case he did so without consulting the ally that provided it, which threatens to jeopardize a long-standing intelligence-sharing agreement, the U.S. officials said.

Since taking office in January, Trump has careened from controversy to controversy, complaining on the first day about news coverage of his inauguration crowds; charging his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, with wiretapping; and just last week firing the FBI director who was overseeing an investigation into potential ties between Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government.

Trump, a Republican who has called allegations of links between his campaign team and Russia a “total scam,” sharply criticized his 2016 election rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, for her handling of classified information as secretary of state, when she used a private email server.

The FBI concluded that no criminal charges against Clinton were warranted, but Comey said she and her colleagues had been “careless” with classified information.


In his conversations with the Russian officials, Trump appeared to be boasting about his knowledge of the looming threats, telling them he was briefed on “great intel every day,” an official with knowledge of the exchange said, according to the Post.

Some U.S. officials have told Reuters they have been concerned about disclosing highly classified intelligence to Trump.

One official, who requested anonymity to discuss dealing with the president, said last month: “He has no filter; it’s in one ear and out the mouth.”

One of the officials with knowledge of Trump’s meeting with the Russian called the timing of the disclosure “particularly unfortunate,” as the President prepares for a White House meeting on Tuesday with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, an ally in the fight against Islamic State.

Trump’s first foreign trip also begins later this week and includes a stop in Saudi Arabia, another Islamic State foe, and a May 25 NATO meeting in Brussels attended by other important U.S. allies. He also has stops planned in Israel and the Vatican.

The president’s trip and latest uproar over his meeting with Russian officials come amid rumors that he might shake-up his senior staff in a bid to refocus his administration.

Additional reporting by David Alexander, Mark Hosenball, Susan Cornwell, Ayesha Rascoe and Steve Holland; Editing by Kieran Murray and Bill Tarrant, Ralph Boulton Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Drumpf burned intel source during 2017's Oval Office Kremlin Confab; what did he get in return? how much, and to whom?

The US decided to extract a top-secret source from Russia after President Donald Trump revealed classified information to two Russian officials in 2017, CNN reported on Monday.

A person directly involved with the discussions told the outlet the US was concerned that Trump and his administration routinely mishandled classified intelligence and that their actions could expose the covert source as a spy within the Russian government.

The New York Times reported that the asset was a mid-level Russian official the CIA had cultivated decades ago who had rapidly moved up through the ranks of the Russian government. Eventually, the report said, the source became invaluable after landing "an influential position" that included access to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But as the US learned the extent to which Russia was interfering in the 2016 election, and as the media reported on it and began to examine the CIA's sources in the Kremlin, US officials reportedly worried about the source's safety and decided to offer to extract the person in late 2016, before Trump took office. The spy apparently refused, but officials' concerns were compounded when, in May 2017, Trump disclosed top-secret intelligence to senior Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting.

Trump's disclosure was not specifically about the Russian spy. But his disregard of strict intelligence-sharing rules to protect highly placed sources "prompted intelligence officials to renew earlier discussions about the potential risk" that the source in Russia would be exposed, CNN reported.

At the Oval Office meeting, which took place one day after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the president is said to have boasted to the Russians that firing "nut job" Comey had taken "great pressure" off him. Comey had been spearheading the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

Trump then went on to share with Lavrov and Kislyak intelligence connected to the Islamic State in Syria. The information came from Israel, which had not given the US permission to share it with the Russians because it could have compromised an Israeli source in the region.

The report said that Mike Pompeo, the CIA director at the time, also told other senior Trump administration officials after the meeting that too much information was coming out regarding the US asset in Russia.

This is not the first time national-security veterans have expressed concerns that Trump's actions could reveal sensitive information about US intelligence-gathering processes and human sources working abroad.

Late last month, the president's tweet about US military information he received during a classified intelligence briefing earlier that day immediately set off alarm bells because it included a satellite photo of an Iranian launchpad that was of a much higher resolution and better quality than the commercial satellite images of the site that were publicly available.

It also contained markers indicating that it was taken by USA-224, one of the US's most secretive spy satellites.

Intelligence veterans said the president's tweet would be a gold mine for hostile foreign powers.

"One doesn't use intel for the purposes of taunting. The Russians and the Chinese will be very happy to study this," Robert Deitz, a former top lawyer at the CIA and the National Security Agency, told Insider.

Last year, Trump also made the unusual decision to authorize the declassification of a highly controversial memo about the origins of the Russia investigation by Devin Nunes, then the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, for political purposes.

The memo and its release sparked a firestorm on Capitol Hill and within the intelligence community. Top intelligence officials met multiple times with senior White House staff to urge against releasing the document for fear that it could expose sources and methods.

The Justice Department and the FBI also took the extraordinary step of releasing statements cautioning against its release by the House Intelligence Committee without giving officials enough time to review it.

there's Wiki page for Yam Tits' disclosure of classified intel bc of course there is tfg's established pattern-of-behavior brings us full-circle to today's stolen-boxes scandal

Lots of quid pro quo. Barrack trial in Sept will reveal lot of bad hombres. He's flipped.Barrack connects to Deripaska (homes were raided),Putin, Flynn,Jared,UAE,MSB (said Jared was in his hip pocket),Marshall Plan, nuclear tech & reactors,(Prince military as guards). Article&

Is Barrack flipping? Flynn-backed plan to transfer nuclear tech to Saudis may have broken laws, say whistleblowers Investigators fear President Trump is still considering the plan, which was pushed by Flynn and Trump friend Tom Barrack.

Likely. He's been indicted & trial set for Sept. Barrack connects to Deripaska (houses were raided), Putin & Blavatnik & thereby Mitch, Graham & others. Barrack demanded docs for his trial & #DOJ couldn't find them in Archives, so searched MAL?

Assuming this, and the nuclear information reporting are accurate, it would indicate at least some portion of the documents were taken purely for their monetary value and/or their ability to do grave damage to national security if they were released/obtained by an adversary.

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