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Trump under investigation for possible espionage act violations, obstruction of justice

President Donald Trump. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)
August 12, 2022

The unsealed search warrant to raid former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home revealed on Friday that the FBI is investigating Trump for a potential violation of the Espionage Act, as well as the removal or destruction of records and obstruction of an investigation. Conviction of such crimes can result in fines or imprisonment.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents who conducted a raid on Trump’s home on Monday took multiple sets of classified documents, according to the FBI Receipt for Property. Among the materials were documents marked “top secret.”

During the raid, FBI agents gathered more than 20 boxes of materials, including binders of photos, a handwritten note, the executive grant of clemency for Roger Stone, and information about the “President of France,” according to the official list of items that were removed from Trump’s home. 

A set of documents marked “Various classified/TS/SCI documents,” meaning top-secret/sensitive compartmented information, was also noted on the list.

The warrant references 18 USC 793, which is the act of “gathering, transmitting or losing defense information,” according to Cornell Law School. It also references 18 USC 2071 and 1519, which cover the “concealment, removal, or mutilation generally,” and “destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal investigations and bankruptcy,” respectively.

On Friday, Trump said in a statement that the documents at Mar-a-Lago were all declassified. The statement read: 

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?

Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich echoed Trump’s statement, calling the raid “not just unprecedented, but unnecessary, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“The Biden administration is in obvious damage control after their botched raid where they seized the President’s picture books, a ‘hand written note,’ and declassified documents,” said Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich. “This raid of President Trump’s home was not just unprecedented, but unnecessary.”