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FBI search warrant reveals agents seized ‘top secret’ documents in raid of Trump’s home

A member of the Secret Service is seen in front of the home of former President Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida on August 9, 2022.

Giorgio Viera | AFP | Getty Images

The FBI seized multiple sets of documents marked top secret from former President Donald Trump’s resort home Mar-a-Lago when agents raided it Monday, according to a search warrant seen by NBC News.

The warrant directed agents to seize “all physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed” in violation of three laws related to handling of government documents.

Eleven sets of classified documents were among the materials seized in the raid, according to a list of what was taken included in the warrant. One group of files was marked “Various classified/TS/SCI documents,” which includes an abbreviation for top-secret/sensitive compartmented information.

The others were four sets of top secret documents, three groups of secret documents, and three sets of confidential documents.

The agents took at least 20 boxes of items, along with binders of photos, one handwritten note and the “executive grant of clemency” for Roger Stone, a Republican political operative whom Trump had pardoned, according to the document seen by NBC.

Information about the president of France was also on the list of items removed from Mar-a-Lago.

Trump and his attorneys have argued that the president declassified the materials before the end of his one term in office. Trump, who has criticized the Justice Department since he first revealed the raid Monday evening, has argued that his team had been cooperating with authorities.

A spokeswoman for Trump did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

The FBI was looking for nuclear documents in Trump’s home, among other items, the Washington Post reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the investigation.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday that the Justice Department would file a motion in court to make the search warrant public, in light of the “substantial public interest in this matter.”

Garland also noted that he had personally approved the warrant, and condemned the wave of attacks on the FBI and DOJ that followed Trump’s announcement about the raid.

Reporting on the search warrant and related materials came less than two hours before a 3 p.m. ET deadline for the DOJ to inform U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart whether Trump’s lawyers would oppose the agency’s motion to disclose the warrant.

Trump, in an apparent defense against the allegations against him, claimed on social media that former President Barack Obama “kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified,” after leaving office.

The National Archives and Records Administration appeared to push back on his claims, explaining that those pages of records were unclassified and moved to a facility in Chicago “where they are maintained exclusively by NARA.”

Obama “has no control over where and how NARA stores the Presidential records of his Administration,” NARA said.

But Trump repeated the claim in a subsequent statement, which also asserted that the Mar-a-Lago records were “all declassified.”

“They didn’t need to ‘seize’ anything,” read the statement sent by Trump’s office. “They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago. It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request.”

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.


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