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Monday, December 09, 2019

Feds Scrutinize Videos Showing Access To Classified Documents At Mar-A-Lago

Aerial view of Mar-a-Lago
Aerial view of Mar-a-Lago

Federal Investigators are closely reviewing video evidence they acquired showing people at Mar-a-Lago with access to storage areas that contained classified documents former President Trump moved from the White House, CBS News reported Monday, citing conversations with a U.S. official.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) subpoenaed video footage from Mar-a-Lago over a 60-day period, “including views from outside the storage room,” according to the New York Times.

“According to a person briefed on the matter, the footage showed that, after one instance in which Justice Department officials were in contact with Mr. Trump’s team, boxes were moved in and out of the room,” Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush noted in their August 14 report for the Times.

The Times stated in its report that it is unclear whether the footage, which depicted the handling of boxes of potentially sensitive material, was captured during the lengthy back-and-forth between the DOJ and Trump’s advisers or after the department had subpoenaed additional documents from Trump.

The discovery that there was potential access to the classified documents seized from Mar-a-Lago — some of which were marked “TS/SCI,” a higher classification level than even top secret — remains a significant concern for federal investigators.

The development precedes new reporting by the Times that over 300 documents labeled classified have been recovered from Trump in two tranches — first by the National Archives and then by the DOJ in June — since he left office.

This newly disclosed volume of classified material found in the ex-president’s possession in January, the Times stated, “helps explain why the Justice Department moved so urgently to hunt down any further classified materials he might have.”

According to CBS News, Trump’s legal team indicated they were aware of the existence of the footage but advised reading into it.

“Just like every Democrat-fabricated witch hunt previously, the water of this unprecedented and unnecessary raid is being carried by a media willing to run with suggestive leaks, anonymous sources and no hard facts,” said Taylor Budowich, a representative for the former president.

Budowich also stated that it should come as “no surprise that boxes may be moved in and out of a storage room.”

“That’s not news,” he said of reports on the footage’s content. “If there was actual concern, the DOJ could have asked, just like they had previously, and they would have, again, received full cooperation.”

Concerns about Trump’s cavalier handling of classified information came up in the early period of his presidency. Trump, then-president of the United States, rejected his intelligence reports because reading was not his “preferred style of learning”; struggled to focus during intelligence briefings; and didn’t even receive an intelligence briefing after the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters.

The former president has repeatedly claimed that he declassified the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago by the FBI and denied all allegations of wrongdoing.


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