Released search warrant reveals Trump suspected of violating Espionage Act

Trump first leaked the unredacted warrant — with the names of FBI agents — to Breitbart

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published August 12, 2022 4:45PM (EDT)

Four days after Donald Trump publicly confirmed the search of his Mar-a-Lago resort by the FBI, the public now has access to the search warrant.

Shortly after 3 p.m. on Friday, the Justice Department confirmed that the former president's lawyers would not oppose the public release of the search warrant and underlying receipt of materials, which had already begun to circulate widely — including to friendly outlets like Breitbart and the Wall Street Journal.

The right-wing Breitbart initially cited three criminal laws including the Espionage Act, which covers the unlawful retention of defense-related information that could harm the U.S. or aid a foreign adversary, before adding a clarification meant to downplay the severity of the allegations.

The site also included the names of the individual FBI agents involved in the search. The court issued release of the warrant, which was approved Friday afternoon, redacts that sensitive information. On Thursday, a man with a reported history of fervent support for Trump was killed in a shootout with FBI agents.

Signed on Aug. 5 by federal magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, the warrant lists the "transmission of national defense information or classified material" and the collection of "any evidence of the knowing alteration, destruction, or concealment of any government and/or Presidential Records, or of any documents with classification markings."

According to Politico,  the retrieved documents include the highest levels of government classification. One item was labeled "Executive grant of clemency re: Roger Jason Stone, Jr.," the longtime confidant pardoned by Trump in his final days in office. Another item was labeled "Info re: President of France.

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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