This story originally appeared in Common Dreams on Aug. 12, 2022. It is shared here under a Creative Commons license.
This is a developing story. Please check back for possible updates.
Multiple news outlets that reviewed the warrant authorizing a federal search of Mar-a-Lago reported Friday that former President Donald Trump is being investigated by the FBI for potential violations of the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice, and unlawful removal of government records.
“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 a related inventory of what FBI agents removed from the Florida residence—including from Breitbart, Fox News, and The Wall Street Journal—came before a federal judge’s 3:00PM ET deadline for Trump’s legal team to respond to a request from the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to unseal the documents.
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.