The search warrant looks at three federal crimes as part of its investigation: violations of the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice and criminal manipulation of government records. Adding crimes indicates that the Department of Justice has probable cause to investigate those crimes because it is gathering evidence in the search. No one has been charged at this time.
Court documents show agents took four sets of “Top Secret” documents, three sets of “Secret” documents and three sets of “Secret” documents. In all, the FBI collected more than 20 boxes, binders of photographs, bundles of classified government material and at least one handwritten note, the unsealed warrant shows.
The warrant, which was unsealed and made public following a federal judge’s order, was obtained by CNN ahead of its release. The moment marks an unprecedented week that began with the search — a step toward gathering evidence in a national security investigation.
The search warrant reveals new details about the scope of the FBI investigation
While details about the documents are scarce, the laws cited in the warrant offer new insight into what the FBI was looking for when it searched Trump’s home, an unprecedented move that drew criticism from close associates of the former president.
According to the search warrant released Friday, the laws include “destroying or concealing documents to obstruct government investigations” and unlawful removal of government records.
One of the laws listed is known as the Espionage Act, which deals with the “retrieval, storage, or transmission of national security information or classified material.”
All three criminal statutes cited in the warrant are from Title 18 of the United States Code. None of them merely indicate whether the information is considered unclassified.
It’s unclear how the Stone-related document seized during the search is connected to the broader criminal investigation into Trump’s mishandling of classified material.
During the search, FBI agents also recovered information about the “President of France,” according to the warrant receipt. The French embassy in Washington declined to comment on the development on Friday.
FBI agents search ’45 Office’ at Mar-a-Lago
Court documents released Friday provide new details about the search, and FBI agents were only allowed access to specific locations at Mar-a-Lago as they approached Trump’s resort home for potential evidence of crimes.
The judge authorized the FBI to search what the bureau called the “Office of 45,” an apparent reference to Trump’s place in history as the 45th president. Agents were allowed to search “all other rooms or areas” at Mar-a-Lago for storage of boxes and documents for Trump and his staff.
“Places to be searched include the ’45 office,’ all storage rooms, and all rooms or areas on the premises used or used by the FPOTUS and his staff, and all structures or buildings on the estate where boxes or documents are stored,” to refer to the former President of the United States as “FPOTUS.” Warrant states using the abbreviation.
The FBI’s warrant application to the judge specified that federal agents would avoid areas rented or used by third parties, such as “Mar-a-Lago members” and “private guest suites.” Trump owns the sprawling estate, which is his primary residence and members-only club and resort.
“It is described as a mansion with approximately 58 bedrooms, 33 bathrooms on 17 acres of land,” FBI agents said in their application to the judge describing the Mar-a-Lago property.
Trump did not object to the issuance of the search warrant
The Justice Department has remained silent for several days following an FBI search of a resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday.
Later on Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the department had moved to unseal the two cases, including the search warrant and the inventory, but insisted that some of the department’s work should take place outside of public view.
“We do it to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans and to protect the integrity of our investigations,” Garland said, while explaining that he would not provide further details about the basis of the search.
Trump said in a post Thursday night on his Truth Community site that he “will not oppose the release of the documents” and would “go a step further by encouraging the immediate release of those documents.”
The court directed the Justice Department to notify Trump of the request to declassify the warrant documents and set a Friday deadline for him to say whether he would oppose their release.
Trump’s team contacted outside lawyers about how to proceed, and Garland’s announcement put the former president in orbit.
In a pair of posts to TruthSocial following Garland’s statement, Trump continued to say that his lawyers were “fully cooperating” and had developed a “very good relationship” with federal investigators before Monday’s search at Mar-a-Lago.
“We probably got what the government wanted, if we had it,” Trump said. “Everything was going well, better than previous presidents, and then, out of nowhere and with no warning, Mar-a-Lago was raided at 6:30 a.m. by a very large number of agents and ‘security guards.'”
This story and topic have been updated with additional improvements.
CNN’s Kevin Lipdock contributed to this report.
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