Former President Donald Trump said the FBI “stole” three of his passports during its raid on Mar-a-Lago last Monday, calling the unprecedented search a “third world” “assault” on a “political opponent.”
“Wow! In the raid by the FBI of Mar-a-Lago, they stole my three Passports (one expired), along with everything else,” Trump posted on his Truth Social account. “This is an assault on a political opponent at a level never seen before in our Country.” He added: “Third World!”
Agents hauled off approximately 20 boxes of materials, after carrying out a broad search warrant at the former president’s private residence in Palm Beach, Fla.
The Mar-a-Lago search warrant and property receipt were unsealed on Friday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart. The search warrant indicated that Trump is under investigation for violating the Espionage Act, among other crimes dealing with the mishandling of classified records.
The Department of Justice on Monday said it opposed the unsealing of the affidavit that was used to secure Reinhart’s permission to obtain the search warrant.
“If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap to the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, in a manner that is highly likely to compromise future investigative steps,” DOJ lawyers wrote in a filing responding to efforts by news outlets to make it public.
The property receipt showed that FBI agents collected four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents, and three sets of confidential documents.
Trump and his allies have disputed the National Archives’ classification of those records, arguing they have all been declassified.
“It was all declassified,” Trump wrote on Truth Social on August 12. He added that the feds didn’t need to “seize” anything. “They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago. It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request,” he said.
Former National Security Council official Kash Patel, whom Trump made his representative in the National Archives dispute, said in an interview on Fox News Sunday that in October of 2020, Trump issued a sweeping declassification order for every RussiaGate document, and every Hillary Clinton document.
“Then, on his way out of the White House, he issued further declassification orders, declassifying whole sets of documents,” Patel said on Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo.
“This is a key fact that most Americans are missing. President Trump, as a sitting President, has a unilateral authority for declassification,” he explained.
The list of materials seized by the feds included a leather-bound box of documents, binders of photos, handwritten notes, the executive grant of clemency for Roger Stone, and information about the President of France.
Fox News reported on Monday that some of the boxes contained “records covered by attorney-client privilege and potentially executive privilege during its raid.”
Sources familiar with the investigation told Fox News Saturday that the former president’s team was informed that boxes labeled A-14, A-26, A-43, A-13, A-33, and a set of documents—all seen on the final page of the FBI’s unsealed property receipt —contained information covered by attorney-client privilege.
Attorney-client privilege refers to a legal privilege that keeps communications between an attorney and their client confidential.
Sources told Fox News Digital that some records could be covered by executive privilege, which gives the President of the United States and other officials within the executive branch the authority to withhold certain sensitive forms of advice and consultation between the president and senior advisers.
It is unclear, at this point, if the records include communications between the former president and his private attorneys, White House counsel during the Trump administration, or a combination.
Sources told Fox News that, due to attorney-client privilege, Trump’s team asked the Justice Department for their position on whether they would support a third party, independent special master to review those records, but sources told Fox News that the DOJ notified Trump’s team that they would oppose that request.
Patel told Bartiromo on Sunday that John Carlin, the assistant attorney general under then-president Barack Obama who authorized the Russia hoax, is now the number three official at the DOJ. And Lisa Monaco, who was his superior back then, is now the number two official.
He explained that because “this is now an ongoing FBI counterintelligence operation,” they will be able to tell the American public that can’t see any of the materials that Trump declassified.
“The country is in a very dangerous position. There is tremendous anger, like I’ve never seen before, over all of the scams, and this new one—years of scams and witch hunts, and now this,” Trump told Fox News Digital Monday.
“There has never been a time like this where law enforcement has been used to break into the house of a former President of the United States, and there is tremendous anger in the country—at a level that has never been seen before, other than during very perilous times,” Trump said.
“If there is anything we can do to help, I, and my people, would certainly be willing to do that,” he added.
Trump told Fox News he “has not heard yet” from the Justice Department on whether they will accept his offer of help.
“I think they would want the same thing—I’ve never seen anything like this. It is a very dangerous time for our country,” Trump said. “I will do whatever I can to help the country.”
After CBS News’ Nora O’Donnell reported that a DOJ source told her the FBI was not in possession of the passports, Trump’s spokesman, Taylor Budowich, tweeted a screenshot of an email from a member of the Justice Department’s National Security Division that acknowledged the agency did indeed seize the former president’s passports.
“We have learned that the filter agents seized three passports belonging to President Trump, two expired and one being his active diplomatic passport,” wrote James Bratt, Chief of Counterintelligence and Export Control Section in the National Security Division of the DOJ, in the email.
Bratt said the agency was “returning” Trump’s passports and that they would be ready for pickup by 2 p.m., Monday. O’Donnell’s tweet came at 6:34 p.m. after the passports had been returned.
This is how Fake News works, folks. Biden admin actively feeds half truths & lies that the media willingly amplifies—advancing a partisan narrative to attack Trump.@NorahODonnell, did your “source” read you this email? Did you bother asking if they indeed seized the passports? https://t.co/DlzkagN0ie pic.twitter.com/VwCU7DPCvg
— Taylor Budowich (@TayFromCA) August 15, 2022
James Bratt has been in the Export Control Section of the National Security Division of the DOJ since 2015. He became chief in 2018.