Donald Trump answers questions from reporters after making a video call to the troops stationed worldwide at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach Florida, on December 24, 2019.
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images
The FBI was looking for nuclear weapons documents at Mar-a-Lago, sources told The Washington Post.
It’s unclear if the documents concerned weapons belonging to the US or other nations, or if they were recovered.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday he was moving to have the search warrant released.
Classified documents related to nuclear weapons were among the items the FBI was searching for during a raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence on Monday, The Washington Post reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the investigation.
The people, who were unnamed, did not provide details on whether the documents concerned nuclear weapons belonging to the US or other nations. It’s unclear if the documents were recovered in the search.
The Justice Department has not said what it was seeking in the search, but Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday he was moving to have the search warrant made available to the public.
Garland confirmed he had personally signed off on the decision to seek a search warrant. People briefed on the documents the FBI was seeking told The New York Times they were so sensitive and important to national security that the Justice Department had no choice but to try and recover them.
Legal experts told Insider that federal officials likely obtained a high degree of probable cause before a judge signed off on the search warrant, given the sensitive nature of conducting such a raid on a former president.
Since the search was carried out and publicized by Trump on Monday, many Republican lawmakers have demanded an explanation from the Justice Department on what warranted the search. Before Garland’s announcement on Thursday, the Justice Department and FBI had offered no comment.
The judge who approved the search warrant has instructed the Justice Department to consult with Trump’s lawyers and let the court know by Friday afternoon if the former president plans to try and block its release.
Sources told The New York Times and CNN that Trump’s team is considering challenging the motion to unseal the warrant. Both outlets reported that his team is consulting with outside attorneys.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.