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Unsealed FBI Affidavit Reveals Some Surprises about Raid of Trump's Mar-a-Largo Estate

FBI's unsealed affidavit says classified records were mixed in boxes with old magazines at Mar-a-Lago

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Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, in Waukesha, Wis. Fourteen of the 15 boxes recovered from former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate earlier this year contained documents with classification markings, according to an FBI affidavit released Friday, Aug. 26, explaining the justification for the search of the property this month.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, in Waukesha, Wis. Fourteen of the 15 boxes recovered from former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate earlier this year contained documents with classification markings, according to an FBI affidavit released Friday, Aug. 26, explaining the justification for the search of the property this month.
Photo: Morry Gash, File (AP)

We told you yesterday that the country was less than 24 hours from finding out more about why, exactly, the FBI took the unprecedented step of raiding ex-president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.

Now we know. In a heavily-redacted, 55-page filing released today under a federal magistrate judge’s order, the FBI revealed that its search warrant affidavit said that there was probable cause to run up in Mar-a-Lago like a neighborhood trap because he’s been under investigation since February over how and why highly-classified documents that were never supposed to leave Washington made their way into boxes at Trump’s house.

The FBI says it started its investigation after the National Archives made a criminal referral over the material in February. The archives had already gotten back 15 boxes of documents from Trump’s residence that weren’t supposed to be there. Inside those boxes, FBI agents found 184 documents that were marked either “confidential”, “secret” or “top secret”; all of those are classifications that determine how sensitive the information is. Several of the documents had markings that the FBI wrote indicated they likely contained “NDI”, or national defense information. Translation: Trump was in possession of boxes full of info that could get people killed.

What’s worse: the FBI quickly realized that even more sensitive documents were being at Trump’s residence in unsecure locations, and believed they might would evidence of obstruction at Mar-a-Lago as well, according to the affidavit.

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“There is Probable Cause to Believe That Documents Containing Classified NDI and Presidential Records Remain at the Premises,” a line on page 26 of the affidavit reads. But like several other pages, the rest of that page was blacked out.

Triflin.