FBI agents were looking for classified documents relating to nuclear weapons while searching former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence on Monday, according to a published report.
The Washington Post, citing “people familiar with the investigation,” said the documents pertaining to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents sought during a search at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach.
The newspaper’s report came hours after prosecutors asked a judge to unseal the search warrant executed earlier this week at Trump’s residence, citing the public interest and the fact that the president publicly confirmed the search, Attorney General Merrick Garland said.
The sources did not offer the Post additional details about what information agents were seeking. They also did not describe whether the documents involved weapons involving the U.S. or other nations.
A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment, according to the Post. The Justice Department and FBI also declined to comment.
Garland said he could not discuss the investigation. But in a rare public statement at the Justice Department, he announced he had personally authorized the decision to seek court permission for a search warrant.
The request came after Trump said in a social media post on Monday that FBI agents had searched Mar-a-Lago unannounced and breached a safe. The former president called the incident politically motivated.
The search was part of a probe into whether Trump took classified records to Florida after leaving the White House, according to The Associated Press. Authorities have been investigating since at least January, when Trump turned over to the National Archives records, including confidential documents, that he had taken to Mar-a-Lago, the news outlet reported.
“Federal law, longstanding department rules and our ethical obligations prevent me from providing further details as to the basis of the search at this time,” Garland said during Thursday’s news conference. He added that “the department does not take such a decision lightly. Where possible, it is standard practice to seek less intrusive means as an alternative to a search and to narrowly scope any search that is undertaken.”
Attorneys for Trump will have until Friday afternoon to respond to the government’s request to unseal the search warrant.
Months before Monday’s search, Trump was served a subpoena aiming to recover documents that authorities believed he had failed to turn over earlier in the year, according to the Times.
Officials from the National Archives and Records Administration notified Congress in February that they had retrieved 15 boxes of documents from Mar-a-Lago that included some classified materials and believed there could be more materials remaining at the resort.
Several media outlets have reported that the raid is connected to the alleged mishandling of classified documents under the Presidential Records Act.
The law, passed in 1978, requires the president and the vice president to preserve White House documents as the property of the U.S. government.
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