Prosecutors have accused the former president’s team of concealing top-secret documents ahead of the raid
Former US President Donald Trump’s team “likely concealed and removed” government records in violation of a grand jury subpoena, the Justice Department claimed in a court filing Tuesday night. The perceived need to retrieve those documents was behind the nighttime FBI raid on Trump’s Palm Beach property, Mar-a-Lago, earlier this month. Prosecutors insisted the papers could include evidence of deliberate obstruction by the Trump team.
While Trump has argued it was unnecessary to search his home, claiming to have cooperated with federal officials and returned all classified documents still in his possession months ago, the Justice Department filing counters with a drawn-out chronology of apparently failed efforts to recover the missing papers – in which the Trump team, far from being helpful, was so uncooperative as to arouse suspicion.
The filing accuses the former president’s team of having “removed from the storage room” some of the sensitive records in question after claiming everything the agents wanted was located there, concluding “efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation.”
Following the Mar-a-Lago raid, the FBI carried out 33 boxes of documents, 13 of which reportedly contained over 100 records of various levels of classification. Agents had been instructed to confiscate all “physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation” of federal law.
Trump has called for a special master to review the seized documents, arguing they are subject to executive and attorney-client privilege and denouncing the raid as a “shockingly aggressive” act of political vengeance. However, the Justice Department claimed it had already looked over the supposedly privileged documents. While no charges have yet been filed against the former president, prosecutors have hinted at Espionage Act violations for the improper storage of documents sensitive to national security.