Search Warrant Indicates FBI Investigating Trump for Espionage Act Violation

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Former President Donald Trump is being investigated for potential violations of the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice, and unlawful removal of government records, according to the warrant authorizing the recent federal search of Mar-a-Lago, which was released Friday.

“This is insane. If you’re not fed up, you’re not paying enough attention,” tweeted the advocacy group Public Citizen in response to the Espionage Act revelation.

Some reports about the warrant and an inventory of what agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation removed from the Florida residence—including from Breitbart, Fox News, and The Wall Street Journal—came before a federal judge’s 3:00 pm ET deadline for Trump’s attorneys to respond to a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) request to unseal the documents.

While Trump’s legal team has copies of the documents—meaning he could have made them public himself—the ex-president said on social media and to government lawyers that he did not oppose releasing the documents through formal legal channels, which led U.S. attorneys to request that the court do so.

As details of the leaked materials circulated Friday afternoon, U.S. Judge Bruce Reinhart ordered the official release.

As Charlie Savage at The New York Times summarized:

The search warrant for Trump’s residence cited three criminal laws, all from Title 18 of the United States Code. Section 793, better known as the Espionage Act, which covers the unlawful retention of defense-related information that could harm the United States or aid a foreign adversary; Section 1519, which covers destroying or concealing documents to obstruct government investigations or administrative proceedings; and Section 2071, which covers the unlawful removal of government records. Notably, none of those laws turn on whether information was deemed to be unclassified.

According to Politico, a receipt accompanying the warrant “shows that Trump possessed documents including a handwritten note; documents marked with ‘TS/SCI,’ which indicate one of the highest levels of government classification; and another item labeled ‘Info re: President of France.'”

Details of the search warrant and inventory followed reporting by The Washington Post late Thursday that FBI agents were attempting to recover classified nuclear weapons documents from Trump’s home on Monday.

 

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