FBI agents obtained permission from a federal judge to search Donald Trump's home after finding that the former president had unlawfully removed 184 classified documents from the White House, according to a redacted affidavit.
Trump himself had voluntarily turned over those classified documents � mixed among magazines, newspapers, photos, letters, notes and other miscellaneous material � in 15 boxes to the National Archives in January after the federal agency responsible for holding presidential and government documents demanded that the former president return his records to Washington, dpa news agency reported.
The discovery of those classified documents � including 67 marked as "CONFIDENTIAL," 92 as "SECRET" and 25 as "TOP SECRET" � formed the body of evidence that the Justice Department cited in the FBI's search warrant that was approved by a judge on August 5 � three days before the FBI raid on Trump's home at Mar-a-Lago.
"The government is conducting a criminal investigation concerning the improper removal and storage of classified information in unauthorized spaces, as well as the unlawful concealment or removal of government records," an unidentified FBI agent wrote in the 32-page affidavit supporting the bureau's search warrant.
"Further, there is probable cause to believe that additional documents that contained classified NDI (national defense information) or that are Presidential records subject to record retention requirements currently remain at Trump's residence, the agent wrote in the affidavit, noting he has received training in counter-intelligence and espionage investigations. "There is also probable cause to believe that evidence of obstruction will be found" at his home.
The FBI agent noted that the investigation began as a result of a "referral" from the United States National Archives and Records Administration to the Justice Department on February 9. That referral, along with material found in May when agents examined the 15 boxes Trump had returned as well as information from several witnesses, led to the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago on August 8.
During that raid, dozens of agents hauled away 27 additional boxes of government and presidential records, including 11 sets of documents Trump took with him when he left the White House, according to an FBI list of the items taken from his home earlier this month.