New Trump Mar-a-Lago details emerge: What we know (and don't) about these classified docs
In the week since the FBI searched former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, new details have trickled out about the unprecedented investigation into a former president.
The move to make public the search warrant used to seize dozens of boxes of documents and other items from Mar-a-Lago shed new light on the investigation last week, but it also spotlighted how much is still unknown.
Here is what we have learned over the past week and what questions remain unanswered.
Trump took documents to Mar-a-Lago after his term ended in 2021
Trump's management of records had been called into question as early as 2018, when a pair of watchdog groups claimed he was breaking the law by destroying documents.
More than two years later, as Trump left office after the 2020 election, staffers were photographed carrying boxes to Marine One. Some of the boxes taken from the White House contained documents the National Archives said should have been transferred to the agency under federal law. In February, the archives retrieved 15 boxes of documents, including what Trump has called "love letters" from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Responding to a letter from Congress about a deeper investigation, national archivist David Ferriero said that the trove of records contained classified national security documents and that the agency was in contact with the Justice Department.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing. Advisers told The Washington Post in February that there was no "nefarious intent" in taking the documents.
Trump has since claimed that he declassified the information, a notion rejected by experts. He has offered no proof that he declassified the documents.
What we don't know: Why did Trump remove the documents from the White House and take them with him to Mar-a-Lago? Trump has not explained, and investigators have not offered any details about what they believe motivated the former president.
The FBI seized 11 sets of classified documents
The search warrant unsealed Friday by a federal judge at the request of the Justice Department shows that FBI agents seized dozens of boxes of documents from Mar-a-Lago, among assorted other items.
The FBI took a grant of clemency for Trump ally Roger Stone, information about the president of France, binders of photos and a leather-bound box of documents.
The seized cache of papers included 10 sets of documents labeled "secret," "top secret" and "confidential," according to the warrant. It also included a set of documents labeled "classified/TS/SCI documents," an abbreviation for "top secret/sensitive compartmented information."
What makes information 'classified'? Who has the power to declassify it? Answers here.
Congressional committees are seeking more details about the search, and the Democratic heads of the House Intelligence and House Oversight and Reform committees are asking for additional information.
What we don't know: How vast was the collection of classified material at Mar-a-Lago? What were the contents of those documents? The Washington Post reported the FBI was searching for documents related to nuclear weapons, but the search warrant does not provide details about the documents, and the Justice Department, the FBI and Trump have not offered additional information.
The investigation centers on possible violations of the Espionage Act of 1917 and obstruction
The search warrant shows investigators were looking for violations of the Espionage Act along with "any evidence of the knowing alteration, destruction, or concealment of any government and/or Presidential Records, or of any documents with classification markings."
The Espionage Act, a law adopted after the start of World War I, makes it illegal to obtain information, capture photos or copy descriptions of information related to national defense with the intent for that information to be used against the United States or for the gain of any foreign nation.
It also is unclear why investigators are considering obstruction. The New York Times reported Friday that a Trump attorney signed a letter saying documents marked classified from a storage area at Mar-a-Lago had been turned over when an investigator visited in June.
What we don't know: What are the specific circumstances under which Trump might be charged? What actions do investigators believe violated the Espionage Act and obstructed an investigation? Some of those answers might be contained in an affidavit in support of the investigation – testimony from a federal agent used to persuade a judge to sign off on a search – but the Justice Department has opposed making the document public. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday in West Palm Beach, Florida, to consider releasing the affidavit.
Trump was holding documents in a storage facility at Mar-a-Lago
The search warrant gave agents latitude to search the "45 Office," storage rooms and other areas where Trump and his staff could have stored boxes or documents, but areas occupied by third parties, including guests, were off limits.
Documents were held in a storage facility at Mar-a-Lago. In June, Trump was served with a subpoena seeking the documents, and The New York Times reported that investigators visited the estate.
The FBI also issued subpoenas for surveillance footage outside the storage area, according to The Times, and investigators told Trump's attorneys to put a more secure padlock on the room.
What we don't know: Who had access to the Mar-a-Lago storage facility where Trump allegedly kept classified documents? It remains unclear whether people who did not have security clearance could have accessed those documents.
Contributing: Ella Lee, Anna Kaufman