The agency found more than 700 pages of classified files at Trump’s home

By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. National Archives has discovered more than 700 pages of classified documents at Donald Trump’s Florida home, in addition to material seized this month by FBI agents, according to a May letter the records agency sent to the lawyer of the Republican former president. released by a Trump ally.

The large amount of classified material in 15 boxes recovered in January by the National Archives and Records Administration, some classified as “top secret,” provides more insight into what led to the FBI’s court-authorized Aug. 8 search of Trump’s residence in Mar. -a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.

The agency is responsible for maintaining government records.

The May 10 letter was sent to Trump’s lawyer, Evan Corcoran, by Acting US Archivist Debre Steidel Wall. It was released late Monday by John Solomon, a conservative journalist whom Trump authorized in June to access his presidential archives.

“Among the materials in the boxes are over 100 classified documents, comprising more than 700 pages. Some include the highest levels of classification, including Special Access Program (SAP) material,” Wall’s letter said, citing protocols security clearances reserved for some of the country’s most closely guarded secrets.

A spokesman for the National Archives did not respond to requests for comment.

The letter contains additional information about Trump’s handling of classified material and his efforts to delay federal officials from being able to review the documents.

The letter shows Trump’s legal team repeatedly tried to block the Archives from letting the FBI and intelligence officials review the material, saying it needed more time to determine whether any of the records were covered by a doctrine called executive privilege that allows a president to shield some records.

President Joe Biden’s administration — specifically the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel — has ruled that the material is not covered by executive privilege. He found that “there is no precedent” for a former president to protect records from a sitting president using executive privilege when the materials in question legally belong to the federal government, according to the letter.

Even after Trump returned the 15 boxes to the Archives, the Justice Department still suspected he had more classified material at Mar-a-Lago.

The Aug. 8 probe was part of a federal investigation into whether Trump illegally removed documents from the White House when he left office in January 2021 after his unsuccessful 2020 election and whether he tried to obstruct the administration’s investigation into removal of records.

In a lawsuit filed late Monday by Trump against the Justice Department over the probe, he said he was served with a grand jury subpoena on May 11 seeking additional classified records.

On June 3, the division’s counterintelligence chief and three FBI agents visited Mar-a-Lago to inspect a warehouse and collect additional records. Trump received a second subpoena later that month seeking surveillance footage from security cameras, which he also provided.

During the Aug. 8 investigation, FBI agents discovered more than 20 additional boxes containing approximately 11 sets of files marked classified.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Will Dunham and Scott Malone)

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