12 Aug 2022

FBI sought nuclear documents in search of Trump's home - US media report

1:12 pm on 12 August 2022

Classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents were seeking when they searched the former US president Donald Trump's residence, the Washington Post says.

GREENWOOD, NEBRASKA - MAY 01: Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the I-80 Speedway on May 01, 2022 in Greenwood, Nebraska. Trump is supporting Charles Herbster in the Nebraska gubernatorial race.   Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by SCOTT OLSON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Donald Trump has been outspoken about the FBI's raid on his property but has so far not said what the agents were looking for. Photo: AFP

Citing anonymous sources, the Post says the documents may have had the highest secrecy classification level.

The sources gave few details and did not say whether the nuclear weapons belonged to the United States or another nation. Nor did they say whether the documents were actually recovered.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Justice is asking a Florida court to unseal the warrant that let FBI agents search Trump's home.

If granted, the request would make the documents available to the public.

Earlier today, Attorney General Merrick Garland also revealed he personally approved the warrant, which was executed at Trump's Mar-a-Lago property on Monday.

The justice department has so far not revealed the reason for the search - but the unsealed warrant could.

Trump said he would not oppose the release of the warrant that let FBI agents search his Mar-a-Lago home earlier this week.

In a statement, Trump said he was encouraging its "immediate release" - but repeated his claim the search was unnecessary and politically motivated.

Monday's FBI search is believed to be connected to an investigation into whether the former president removed classified records and sensitive material from the White House.

Until now, the justice department has followed its normal practice of remaining silent during an investigation and documents such as search warrants traditionally remain sealed during a pending investigation.

But Garland said he was asking a court to make documents connected to the search warrant publicly available, in the public interest.

He said his decision was also influenced by Trump publicly announcing the search had taken place.

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 11: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers a statement at the U.S. Department of Justice August 11, 2022 in Washington, DC. Garland addressed the FBI's recent search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence, announcing the Justice Department has filed a motion to unseal the search warrant as well as a property receipt for what was taken.   Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Drew Angerer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Merrick Garland says it's in the public interest to reveal more details about the FBI's search of Donald Trump's residence. Photo: AFP

"The public's clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred under these circumstances weighs heavily in favour of unsealing," Justice Department lawyers said in a motion filed in federal court on Thursday.

Monday's search was the first time in American history that a former president's home has been searched as part of a criminal investigation. It was condemned by Trump and other Republicans as politically motivated.

But speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Garland defended FBI agents and justice department officials from the accusations.

"I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked," Garland told reporters.

He also said the decision to search was not taken lightly. "Where possible it is standard practice to seek less intrusive means," he said.

In a statement on Thursday the former president said his team was "cooperating fully" with federal investigators.

Trump records probe timeline

  • January 2022 - The National Archives retrieves 15 boxes of White House records from Mar-a-Lago, and says some of the documents it received at the end of the Trump administration had been torn up
  • February - Reports emerge that classified files were found in the Mar-a-Lago cache and National Archives had asked DoJ to investigate
  • April - US media report the FBI has begun a preliminary investigation into how allegedly classified material ended up at Mar-a-Lago
  • 3 June - A senior DoJ official and three FBI agents travel to Mar-a-Lago to review the items in a basement and Trump drops by to say hello, according to reports
  • 8 June - Federal investigators reportedly write to a Trump aide to request a stronger lock be used to secure the room storing the items in question. Trump says that request was quickly fulfilled
  • 22 June - The Trump Organisation reportedly receives a DoJ legal summons for CCTV footage from Mar-a-Lago
  • 8 August - Dozens of agents execute a search warrant of Mar-a-Lago, removing about 10 boxes from the property


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