WASHINGTON: At least two secret records were discovered at the former president’s Florida residence by a team Donald Trump hired to look for White House papers, a person with knowledge of the situation said on Wednesday.
A federal judge instructed Trump’s attorneys to search his possessions for any remaining secret information. One of four sites investigated contained his residence in Palm Beach, Florida, where the documents were discovered, according to the source.
The Justice Department is looking into whether Trump breached the law by holding onto government documents beyond leaving office in January 2021, some of which were classified as top secret.
Trump, who last month announced the start of his 2024 presidential campaign, has denied wrongdoing and claimed that the inquiry is a biassed attack without offering any supporting documentation.
The Washington Post and CNN had earlier reported on the searches.
Thousands of documents were taken by FBI agents during a court-authorized search of his Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach on August 8; around 100 of those documents were tagged as classified.
When the FBI sent officers to investigate Trump’s residence, prosecutors are also investigating if Trump or his entourage obstructed the course of justice. More secret documents may still be missing, according to officials.
A war crimes prosecutor named Jack Smith as special counsel last month by US Attorney General Merrick Garland to lead the probe into the papers as well as a separate investigation into his attempts to rig the 2020 election.
According to Trump spokesman Steven Cheung, “President Trump and his counsel continue to be forthcoming and transparent, despite the unprecedented, illegal, and unjustified attack against President Trump and his family by the militarised Department of Justice.”
To make sure US President Joe Biden, who might run against Trump again in the 2024 election, was not involved in the investigation, Garland selected Smith as special counsel.
Over the past week, Trump has encountered a number of legal setbacks, including a Tuesday ruling that his corporation had committed tax fraud.
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