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Report: FBI searched Trump residence for nuclear weapons docs

Then-President Donald J. Trump. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
August 12, 2022

The FBI agents who raided former President Donald Trump’s home were looking for classified nuclear weapons documents, sources familiar with the matter told the Washington Post on Thursday. Trump had already returned documents requested by The National Archives in January, and said he followed DOJ and FBI directives to securely store the documents prior to the raid. Trump also said the materials taken in the raid were declassified.

Sources told the Washington Post that FBI agents were seeking the nuclear documents when they showed up en masse at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in West Palm Beach, Fla. on Monday. The sources did not specify whether the documents were related to nuclear weapons belonging to the U.S. or another nation, and did not say if agents found such documents during the raid.

If information about U.S. nuclear weapons were exposed, it could inform adversaries about how to counter them, sources told the Washington Post. Sources also said other nations could see it as a threat if details about their own nuclear capabilities were leaked.

In an emailed statement about the materials taken from Mar-a-Lago, Trump said, “Number one, it was all declassified. Number two, they didn’t need to ‘seize’ anything. 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. They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago. ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK. The bigger problem is, what are they going to do with the 33 million pages of documents, many of which are classified, that President Obama took to Chicago?”

In a post earlier on Friday morning on his Truth social media platform, Trump also disputed the Washington Post’s reporting that the materials pertained to nuclear weapons.

“Nuclear weapons issue is a Hoax, just like Russia, Russia, Russia was a Hoax, two Impeachments were a Hoax, the Mueller investigation was a Hoax, and much more. Same sleazy people involved,” Trump’s post reads. “Why wouldn’t the FBI allow the inspection of areas at Mar-a-Lago with our lawyer’s, or others, present. Made them wait outside in the heat, wouldn’t let them get even close – said ‘ABSOLUTELY NOT.’ Planting information anyone? Reminds me of a Christofer Steele Dossier!”

In another statement on Friday, Trump claimed his predecessor kept classified and nuclear documents. “President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified. How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!” Trump said.

On Thursday, Trump also said in a Truth Social post that he had been cooperating with the FBI and DOJ on matters involving records he kept at Mar-a-Lago.

“In early June, the DOJ and FBI asked my legal representatives to put an extra lock on the door leading to the place where boxes were stored in Mar-a-Lago – We agreed,” Trump said. “They were shown the secured area, and the boxes themselves. Then on Monday, without notification or warning, an army of agents broke into Mar-a-Lago, went to the same storage area, and ripped open the lock that they had asked to be installed. A surprise attack, POLITICS, and all the while our Country is going to HELL!”

“My attorneys and representatives were cooperating fully, and very good relationships had been established,” Trump said in another Truth post on Thursday. “The government could have had whatever they wanted, if we had it. They asked us to put an additional lock on a certain area – DONE! Everything was fine, better than that of most previous Presidents, and then, out of nowhere and with no warning, Mar-a-Lago was raided, at 6:30 in the morning, by VERY large numbers of agents, and even ‘safecrackers.’ They got way ahead of themselves. Crazy!”

In January, Trump returned 15 boxes of materials to The National Archive. A source said that among the 15 boxes, some were marked classified, and some contained intelligence documents. The National Archive subsequently requested a DOJ investigation.

The Washington Post reported Trump’s team received a grand jury subpoena in connection with the documents investigations this Spring. Investigators reportedly visited Mar-a-Lago weeks after the subpoena was issued, which supports Trump’s claim of showing investigators his documents storage area in June.

Despite Trump turning over documents in January and showing his file room in June, sources told the Washington Post that some investigators felt Trump’s team was not being truthful during months of back and forth discussions.

On Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland revealed he had personally approved the decision to pursue a search warrant at Trump’s home. Garland did not say what the FBI and the Department of Justice were searching for during the raid, but said the department had filed a motion to unseal the search warrant and property receipt related to the raid.

The property receipt would provide a general list of the items taken from Trump’s possession. The receipt likely wouldn’t provide extensive details about the seized items, especially those pertaining to classified documents.

Details could be limited, however, particularly if the material collected includes classified documents.