A document justifying the search at Donald Trump’s house made public but redacted

US justice released a court document on Friday setting out the reasons for the recent federal police (FBI) search of the Florida home of former President Donald Trump, but the content largely redacted in the interest of the investigation.

Without delivering explosive revelations due to the many redacted passages, this pleading offers a glimpse of how Donald Trump kept potentially highly confidential documents at his home in Mar-a-Lago — and the concern aroused by his apparent recklessness on the part of the authorities. The investigators were particularly concerned about the maintenance in an unsecured room of potentially top secret documents, even which could endanger American intelligence agents undercover.

Fifteen boxes containing 25 top secret documents

The document made public explains that the investigations began after the National Archives Agency (NARA), responsible for recording presidential activities, indicated in February to the Ministry of Justice that it had received, from Donald Trump’s teams, 15 boxes of documents including “top secret documents”.

The investigation then opened by the federal police confirmed that these boxes contained 184 classified documents, including 25 top secret, and led the investigators to believe that “other documents containing top secret national defense information” were still present at Mar-a-Lago.

The problem: these very sensitive archives had “not been managed appropriately nor (were) stored in an appropriate place”, details an excerpt from a letter from the Ministry of Justice to Donald Trump’s lawyers quoted in the report released on Friday. On August 8, the FBI had therefore searched the residence of Donald Trump, seizing around thirty new boxes containing in particular confidential documents.

Public interest

Citing the great public interest in this unprecedented search of the home of a former American president, federal judge Bruce Reinhart then imposed on the department to release the documents made public on Friday. But the magistrate accepted the authorities’ request to redact important parts of the document – which could otherwise have revealed the identity of certain actors in the case – in the name of a “compelling” need to protect the investigations.

Authorities waited until the last minute on Friday to comply, releasing the 38-page document shortly after 12:00 p.m. (4:00 p.m. GMT), the deadline set by Judge Reinhart. They had once opposed the publication of the said document, arguing that it would require a redaction “so extensive that the rest of the leaked text would be devoid of any significant content”. Reacting to the publication on Friday, Donald Trump again denounced on his Truth Social network a “witch hunt”.

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