Investigation into seized White House documents continues
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, head of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday he had not seen evidence that former President Donald Trump had declassified documents found by the FBI during a search of his South Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago, last week.
“We need to figure out, you know, if there were any efforts during the presidency to go through the declassification process,” Schiff said in an interview on “Face the Nation.” “I haven’t seen any evidence of that, and they haven’t presented any evidence of that.”
After the FBI executed a search warrant at Trump’s residence, sparking outrage from the former president and his Republican allies, a federal magistrate in Florida on Friday unsealed the warrant and list of items seized during the search. search.
According to publicly available records, the FBI took 11 sets of classified documents, some of which were designated top secret, secret, and confidential, as well as TS/SCI, or compartmentalized top secret/sensitive.
Lawyers for the former president did not object to the release of the search warrant and related documents, and he claimed that all records seized in the search were declassified while he was still in office.
While a sitting president has broad declassification power, Schiff noted that this does not extend to a former president and called it “absurd” that Trump would claim to have retroactively declassified documents he has. brought to Mar-a-Lago.
He also noted that the laws the Justice Department said in the warrant it is investigating Trump for possibly violating do not require the information to be classified.
“If they harm national security, that’s a problem. It’s a major problem,” the California Democrat said.
Schiff also said it was a “serious problem” if Trump’s lawyers certified to the Justice Department that all classified information had been recovered when the National Archives and Records Administration obtained 15 boxes of Mar-a-Lago from mid-January, but did not turn over any classified or national security information. Some of the boxes recovered by the National Archives contained classified documents, and the agency asked the Justice Department to investigate Trump’s handling of White House records.
“I can tell you that anyone in the intelligence community who had documents like this marked top secret/SCI, in their residence after authorities surrendered to them, you know, they would be subject of a serious investigation,” he said.
Schiff and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, head of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, asked Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to conduct a briefing and damage assessment, which he said is routine in the event of the disclosure of classified information.
“What is, to me, most troubling here is the extent to which, at least from public reports, it appears to be deliberate on the part of the President to keep these documents after the government asked,” he said. “And that adds another layer of concern.”