Former President Donald Trump returned to the government an envelope full of documents “wrapped in tape” and failed to mention that he supposedly declassified the records kept at his Florida residence, the FBI said in court papers revealed on Tuesday.
The unredacted details were included in the FBI search warrant affidavit used to justify the unprecedented Aug. 8 raid of an ex-president’s home.
After the raid, Trump claimed he declassified any records retrieved by the authorities from his Mar-a-Lago resort.
The newly disclosed search warrant affidavit details come as the Justice Department pushes back on Trump’s claim to have a standing order to declassify information en route to Palm Beach when he left office last year.
Although the president has the ultimate authority to declassify information, Trump has not produced a specific order covering documents stored at Mar-a-Lago — nor has the government said what actually is in the documents.
Trump claimed after the raid that “it was all declassified,” though experts and the Justice Department say that wouldn’t necessarily shield Trump from charges for mishandling national defense information.
The affidavit says that on June 3, Trump’s team handed over records that seemed to be treated “as if they were still classified.”
The documents were “in a Redweld envelope wrapped in tape appears to be consistent with an effort to handle the documents as if they were still classified,” the 38-page document says.
“On June 3, 2022, three FBI agents and DOJ COUNSEL arrived at the PREMISES to accept receipt of the materials. In addition to [an unnamed Trump attorney], another individual, hereinafter ‘INDIVIDUAL 2,’ was also present as the custodian of records for [Trump’s] post-presidential office,” the document says.
“The production included a single Redweld envelope, wrapped in tape, containing documents. [Trump’s attorney] relayed that the documents in the Redweld envelope were found during a review of the boxes located in the STORAGE ROOM,” the FBI said.
“When producing the documents, neither [Trump] COUNSEL 1 nor INDIVIDUAL 2 asserted that [Trump] had declassified the documents. The documents being in a Redweld envelope wrapped in tape appears to be consistent with an effort to handle the documents as if they were still classified.”
The newly revealed details also include a suggestion that the FBI got its hands on surveillance camera footage from Mar-a-Lago about one month before it raided the ex-president.
A June 24 government subpoena demanded from the Trump Organization “[a]ny and all surveillance records videos images, photographs and/or CCTV from internal cameras located on ground floor (basement) on the Mar-a-Lago property… from the time period of January 10, 2022 to present.”
The affidavit doesn’t say what the tapes showed, but said, “On July 6, 2022, in response to this subpoena, representatives of the Trump Organization provided a hard drive to FBI agents.”