Trump search warrant: What were FBI agents looking for at Mar-a-Lago?

The receipt for property that was seized during a search by the FBI at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

The receipt for property that was seized during the execution of a search warrant by the FBI at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, is photographed on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022.

Jon Elswick, Associated Press

Former President Donald Trump is under investigation by the FBI for potentially violating the Espionage Act, according to the recently unsealed warrant — which federal agents presented to Trump’s lawyers when searching his Mar-a-Lago estate on Monday.

What’s in the warrant: The search warrant allowed federal officers to search private areas of Mar-a-Lago used by Trump and his staff for documents and records that could be tied to violations of Title 18 of the U.S. Code. The warrant refers to three specific sections of code:

  • Section 793, also known as the Espionage Act: Covers retention of documents related to the defense of the United States, which could be harmful to the country or aid a foreign adversary. 
  • Section 1519: Includes destroying or concealing documents in order to impede or obstruct an investigation or an official government proceeding.
  • Section 2071: Involves unlawful retention or handling of classified government documents.

What the FBI took from Mar-a-Lago: The unsealed warrant doesn’t include confidential information found in a sworn affidavit — which will likely remain sealed throughout the ongoing investigation — but it did shed light on what federal agents took from Trump.

The warrant included a receipt for property, which is required whenever agents remove property while carrying out a search warrant.

Here’s what the FBI took, according to the inventory unsealed along with the warrant:

  • Documents marked with “TS-SCI,” which stands for “sensitive compartmented information,” a designation higher than top secret.
  • An item labeled “Executive grant of clemency re: Roger Jason Stone, Jr.,” referring to one of Trump’s close allies, who was pardoned in late 2020.
  • An item labeled “Info re: President of France.”
  • 21 labeled boxes of documents, classified either “miscellaneous confidential documents,” “miscellaneous secret documents” or “miscellaneous top secret documents.”
  • A leatherbound box of documents, two binders of photos and a handwritten note.

Bridger Beal-Cvetko



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