Here is the original PDF of the Department of Justice (DOJ) affidavit that was released today, August 26, 2022, and that was used to secure the search warrant that the FBI used to search Mar-a-Lago for documents and evidence in the investigation of Donald Trump. Below is a full plain text transcription, as well as the original PDF. We are making this available as a service to the public, as we were able to download it before the official documents site PACER crashed under the weight of those looking for the affidavit.
Among other things, the affidavit asserts that “As described above, evidence of the SUBJECT OFFENSES has been stored in multiple locations at the PREMISES.”
It then concludes like this: “Based on the foregoing facts and circumstances, I submit that probable cause exists to believe that evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or otherr items illegally possessed in violation 18 U.S.C. §§ 793(e), 2071, or 1519 will be found at the PREMISES. Further, I submit that this affidavit supports probable cause for a warrant to search the PREMISES described in Attachment A and seize the items described in Attachment B.”
It also notes that in May of 2022 “A preliminary triage of the documents with classification markings revealed the following approximate numbers: 184 unique docmnents bearing classification markings, including 67 documents marked as CONFIDENTIAL, 92 documents marked as SECRET, and 25 documents marked as TOP SECRET. Further, the FBI agents observed markings reflecting the following compartments/dissemination controls: HCS, FISA, ORCON, NOFORN, and SI. Based on my training and experience, I know that documents classified at these levels typically contain NDI. Several of the documents also contained what appears to be FPOTUS ‘s handwritten notes.”
Other relevant bits include “Based upon this investigation, I believe that the STORAGE ROOM, FPOTUS’s residential suite, Pine Hall, the “45 Office,” and other spaces within the PREMISES are not currently authorized locations for the storage of classified information or NDI. Similarly, based upon this investigation, I do not believe that any spaces within the PRE1,1ISES have been authorized for the storage of classified information at least since the end of FPOTUS ‘s Presidential Administration on January 20, 2021.”
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“The PREMISES is currently closed to club members for the summer; however, as specified in Attachment A, if at the time of the search, there are areas of the PREMISES being occupied, rented, or used by third parties, and not otherwise used or available to be used by FPOTUS and his staff, the search would not include such areas.”
Transcription of Affidavit Used by the DOJ and FBI to Obtain a Search Warrant of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago
Note that this is a raw transcription, and does not include the wide swaths of redaction. You can see the original PDF downloaded from PACER below the transcript.
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA IN THE MATTER OF THE SEARCH OF: LOCATIONS WITHIN THE PREMISES TO BE SEARCHED IN ATTACHMENT A Filed Under Seal AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT OF AN APPLICATION UNDER RULE 41 FOR A WARRANT TO SEARCH AND SEIZE I, being first duly sworn, hereby depose and state as follows: INTRODUCTION AND AGENT BACKGROUND The government is conducting a criminal investigation concerning the improper removal and storage of classified information in unauthorized spaces, as well as the unlawful concealment or removal of government records. The investigation began as a result of a referral the United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) sent to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) on February 9, 2022, hereinafter, "NARA Referral." The NARA Referral stated that on January 18, 2022, in accordance with the Presidential Records Act (PRA), NARA received from the office of former President DONALD J. TRUMP, hereinafter "FPOTUS," via representatives, fifteen (15) boxes of records, hereinafter, the "FIFTEEN BOXES." The FIFTEEN BOXES, which had been transported from the FPOTUS property at 1100 S Ocean Blvd, Palm Beach, FL 33480, hereinafter, the "PREMISES," a residence and club known as "Mar-a-Lago," further described in Attachment A, were reported by NARA to contain, among other things, highly classified documents intermingled with other records. After an initial review of the NARA Referral, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) opened a criminal investigation to, among other things, determine how the documents with classification markings and records were removed from the White House (or any other authorized location(s) for the storage of classified materials) and came to be stored at the PREMISES; determine whether the storage location(s) at the PREMISES were authorized locations for the storage of classified information; determine whether any additional classified documents or records may have been stored in an unauthorized location at the PREMISES or another unknown location, and whether they remain at any such location; and identify any person(s) who may have removed or retained classified information without authorization andior in an unauthorized space. The FBI's investigation has established that documents bearing classification markings, which appear to contain National Defense Information (NDI), were among the materials contained in the FIFTEEN BOXES and were stored at the PREMISES in an unauthorized location. Further, there is probable cause to believe that additional documents that contain classified NDI or that are Presidential records subject to record retention requirements currently remain at the PREMISES. There is also probable cause to believe that evidence of obstruction will be found at the PREMISES. I am a Special Agent with the FBI assigned to the Washington Field Office . During this time, I have received training at the FBI Academy located at Quantico, Virginia, specific to counterintelligence and espionage investigations. Based on my experience and training, I am familiar with efforts used to unlawfully collect, retain, and disseminate sensitive government information, including classified NDI. I make this affidavit in support of an application under Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure for a warrant to search the premises known as 1100 S Ocean Blvd, Palm Beach, FL 33480, the "PREMISES," as further described in Attachment A, for the things described in Attachment B. Based upon the following facts, there is probable cause to believe that the locations to be searched at the PREMISES contain evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 793(e), 1519, or 2071. SOURCE OF EVIDENCE The facts set forth in this affidavit are based on my personal knowledge, knowledge obtained during my participation in this investigation, and information obtained from other FBI and U.S. Government personnel. Because this affidavit is submitted for the limited purpose of establishing probable cause in support of the application for a search warrant, it does not set forth each and every fact that I, or others, have learned during the course of this investigation. STATUTORY AUTHORITY AND DEFINITIONS Under 18 U.S.C. § 793(e), "[w]hoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document . . . or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted" or attempts to do or causes the same "to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it" shall be fined or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both. Under Executive Order 13526, information in any form may be classified if it: (1) is owned by, produced by or for, or is under the control of the United States Government; (2) falls within one or more of the categories set forth in the Executive Order [Top Secret, Secret, and Confidential]; and (3) is classified by an original classification authority who determines that its unauthorized disclosure reasonably could be expected to result in damage to the national security. Where such unauthorized disclosure could reasonably result in damage to the national security, the information may be classified as "Confidential" and must be properly safeguarded. Where such unauthorized disclosure could reasonably result in serious damage to the national security, the information may be classified as "Secret" and must be properly safeguarded. Where such unauthorized disclosure could reasonably result in exceptionally grave damage to the national security, the information may be classified as "Top Secret" and must be properly safeguarded. Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) means classified information concerning or derived from intelligence sources, methods, or analytical processes, which is required to be handled within formal access control systems. Special Intelligence, or "SI," is an SCI control system designed to protect technical and intelligence information derived from the monitoring of foreign communications signals by other than the intended recipients. The SI control system protects SI-derived information and information relating to SI activities, capabilities, techniques, processes, and procedures. HUMINT Control System, or "HCS," is an SCI control system designed to protect intelligence information derived from clandestine human sources, commonly referred to as "human intelligence." The HCS control system protects human intelligence-derived information and information relating to human intelligence activities, capabilities, techniques, processes, and procedures. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or "FISA," is a dissemination control designed to protect intelligence information derived from the collection of information authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or "FISC." Classified information may be marked as "Not Releasable to Foreign Nationals/Governments/US Citizens," abbreviated "NOFORN," to indicate information that may not be released in any form to foreign governments, foreign nationals, foreign organizations, or non-U.S. citizens without permission of the originator. Classified information may be marked as "Originator Controlled," abbreviated "ORCON." This marking indicates that dissemination beyond pre-approved U.S. entities requires originator approval. Classified information of any designation may be shared only with persons determined by an appropriate United States Government official to be eligible for access, and who possess a "need to know." Among other requirements, in order for a person to obtain a security clearance allowing that person access to classified United States Government information, that person is required to and must agree to properly protect classified information by not disclosing such information to persons not entitled to receive it, by not unlawfully removing classified information from authorized storage facilities, and by not storing classified information in unauthorized locations. If a person is not eligible to receive classified information, classified information may not be disclosed to that person. In order for a foreign government to receive access to classified i nformation, the originating United States agency must determine that such release is appropriate. Pursuant to Executive Order 13526, classified information contained on automated information systems, including networks and telecommunications systems, that collect, create, communicate, compute, disseminate, process, or store classified information must be maintained in a manner that: (1) prevents access by unauthorized persons; and (2) ensures the integrity of the information. 32 C.F.R. Parts 2001 and 2003 regulate the handling of classified information. Specifically, 32 C.F.R. § 2001.43, titled "Storage," regulates the physical protection of classified information. This section prescribes that Secret and Top Secret information "shall be stored in a [General Services Administration]-approved security container, a vault built to Federal Standard (FHD STD) 832, or an open storage area constructed in accordance with § 2001.53." It also requires periodic inspection of the container and the use of an Intrusion Detection System, among other things. Under 18 U.S.C. § 1519: Whoever knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States or any case filed under title 11, or in relation to or contemplation of any such matter or case, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. Under 18 U.S.C. § 2071: (a) Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both. (b) Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. As used in this subsection, the term "office" does not include the office held by any person as a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the United States. 22. Under the PRA, 44 U.S.C. § 2201: (2) The term "Presidential records" means documentary materials, or any reasonably segregable portion thereof, created or received by the President, the President's immediate staff, or a unit or individual of the Executive Office of the President whose function is to advise or assist the President, in the course of conducting activities which relate to or have an effect upon the carrying out of the constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President. Such term— includes any documentary materials relating to the political activities of the President or members of the President's staff, but only if such activities relate to or have a direct effect upon the carrying out of constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President; but does not include any documentary materials that are (i) official records of an agency (as defined in section 552(e) of title 5, United States Code; (ii) personal records; (iii) stocks of publications and stationery; or (iv) extra copies of documents produced only for convenience of reference, when such copies are clearly so identified. 23. Under 44 U.S.C. § 3301(a), government "records" are defined as: all recorded information, regardless of form or characteristics, made or received by a Federal agency under Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business and preserved or appropriate for preservation by that agency or its legitimate successor as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the United States Government or because of the informational value of data in them. PROBABLE CAUSE, NARA Referral 24. On February 9, 2022, the Special Agent in Charge of NARA's Office of the Inspector General sent the NARA Referral via email to DOJ. The NARA Referral stated that according to NARA's White House Liaison Division Director, a preliminary review of the FIFTEEN BOXES indicated that they contained "newspapers, magazines, printed news articles, photos, miscellaneous print-outs, notes, presidential correspondence, personal and post-presidential records, and 'a lot of classified records.' Of most significant concern was that highly classified records were unfoldered, intermixed with other records, and otherwise unproperly [sic] identified." 25. On February 18, 2022, the Archivist of the United States, chief administrator for NARA, stated in a letter to Congress's Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairwoman The Honorable Carolyn B. Maloney, "NARA had ongoing communications with the representatives of former President Trump throughout 2021, which resulted in the transfer of 15 boxes to NARA in January 2022 . . . . NARA has identified items marked as classified national security information within the boxes." The letter also stated that, "[b]ecause NARA identified classified information in the boxes, NARA staff has been in communication with the Department of Justice." The letter was made publicly available at the following uniform resource locator (URL):DOJ Affidavit for FBI Search Warrant Donald Trump Maralago Mar-a-LagoDestination Content Removed at Other Endletter.02.18.2022.pdf. On February 18, 2022, the same day, the Save America Political Action Committee (PAC) posted the following statement on behalf of FPOTUS: "The National Archives did not 'find' anything, they were given, upon request, Presidential Records in an ordinary and routine process to ensure the preservation of my legacy and in accordance with the Presidential Records Act . . . ." An image of this statement is below. SAVE AMERICA Boxes Containing Documents Were Transported from the White House to Mar-a-Lago According to a CBS Miami article titled "Moving Trucks Spotted At Mar-a-Lago," published Monday, January 18, 2021, at least two moving trucks were observed at the PREMISES on January 18 2021. Provision of the Fifteen Boxes to NARA 39. On or about May 6, 2021, NARA made a request for the missing PRA records and continued to make requests until approximately late December 2021 when NARA was informed twelve boxes were found and ready for retrieval at the PREMISES. The FIFTEEN BOXES Provided to NARA Contain Classified Information From May 16-18, 2022, FBI agents conducted a preliminary review of the FIFTEEN BOXES provided to NARA and identified documents with classification markings in fourteen of the FIFTEEN BOXES. A preliminary triage of the documents with classification markings revealed the following approximate numbers: 184 unique documents bearing classification markings, including 67 documents marked as CONFIDENTIAL, 92 documents marked as SECRET, and 25 documents marked as TOP SECRET. Further, the FBI agents observed markings reflecting the following compartments/dissemination controls: HCS, FISA, ORCON, NOFORN, and SI. Based on my training and experience, I know that documents classified at these levels typically contain NDI. Several of the documents also contained what appears to be FPOTUS's handwritten notes. In the second such letter, which is attached as Exhibit 1, FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 asked DOJ to consider a few "principles," which include FPOTUS COUNSEL l's claim that a President has absolute authority to declassify documents. In this letter, FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 requested, among other things, that "DOJ provide this letter to any judicial officer who is asked to rule on any motion pertaining to this investigation, or on any application made in connection with any investigative request concerning this investigation." I am aware of an article published in Breitbart on May 5, 2022, available at htt s www.breitbart.courpolitics/2022/05/05/documents-mar-a-lauo-marked-classified- werealreadv-declassified-kash-patel-says, which states that Kash Patel, who is described as a former top FPOTUS administration official, characterized as "misleading" reports in other news organizations that NARA had found classified materials among records that FPOTUS provided to NARA from Mar-a-Lago. Patel alleged that such reports were misleading because FPOTUS had declassified the materials at issue. On June 8, 2022, DOJ COUNSEL sent FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 a letter, which reiterated that the PREMISES are not authorized to store classified information and requested the preservation of the STORAGE ROOM and boxes that had been moved from the White House to the PREMISES. Specifically, the letter stated in relevant part: As I previously indicated to you, Mar-a-Lago does not include a secure location authorized for the storage of classified information. As such, it appears that since the time classified documents were removed from the secure facilities at the White House and moved to Mar-a-Lago on or around January 20, 2021, they have not been handled in an appropriate manner or stored in an appropriate location. Accordingly, we ask that the room at Mar-a-Lago where the documents had been stored be secured and that all of the boxes that were moved from the White House to Mar-a-Lago (along with any other items in that room) be preserved in that room in their current condition until further notice. 2 18 U.S.C. § 793(e) does not use the term "classified information." but rather criminalizes the unlawful retention of -information relating to the national defense." The statute does not define "information related to the national defense." but courts have construed it broadly. See Gorin v. United States. 312 U.S. 19. 28 (1941) (holding that the phrase "information relating to the national defense" as used in the Espionage Act is a "generic concept of broad connotations. referring to the military and naval establishments and the related activities of national preparedness"). In addition. the information must be "closely held" by the U.S. government. See United States v. Squillocate. 221 F.3d 542. 579 (4th Cir. 2000) (IIinformation made public by the government as well as information never protected by the government is not national defense information."); United States v. Morison. 844 F.2d 1057. 1071-72 (4th Cir. 1988). Certain courts have also held that the disclosure of the documents must be potentially damaging to the United States. See Morison, 844 F.2d at 1071-72. On June 9, 2022, FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 sent an email to DOJ COUNSEL, stating, `I write to acknowledge receipt of this letter." There is Probable Cause to Believe That Documents Containing Classified NDI and Presidential Records Remain at the Premises Based upon this investigation, I believe that the STORAGE ROOM, FPOTUS's residential suite, Pine Hall, the "45 Office," and other spaces within the PREMISES are not currently authorized locations for the storage of classified information or NDI. Similarly, based upon this investigation, I do not believe that any spaces within the PREMISES have been authorized for the storage of classified information at least since the end of FPOTUS's Presidential Administration on January 20, 2021. As described above, evidence of the SUBJECT OFFENSES has been stored in multiple locations at the PREMISES. Accordingly, this affidavit seeks authorization to search the "45 Office" and all storage rooms and any other rooms or locations where boxes or records may be stored within the PREMISES, as further described in Attachment A. The PREMISES is currently closed to club members for the summer; however, as specified in Attachment A, if at the time of the search, there are areas of the PREMISES being occupied, rented, or used by third parties, and not otherwise used or available to be used by FPOTUS and his staff, the search would not include such areas. CONCLUSION Based on the foregoing facts and circumstances, I submit that probable cause exists to believe that evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation 18 U.S.C. §§ 793(e), 2071, or 1519 will be found at the PREMISES. Further, I submit that this affidavit supports probable cause for a warrant to search the PREMISES described in Attachment A and seize the items described in Attachment B. REQUEST FOR SEALING It is respectfully requested that this Court issue an order sealing, until further order of the Court, all papers submitted in support of this application, including the application and search warrant. I believe that sealing this document is necessary because the items and information to be seized are relevant to an ongoing investigation and the FBI has not yet identified all potential criminal confederates nor located all evidence related to its investigation. Premature disclosure of the contents of this affidavit and related documents may have a significant and negative impact on the continuing investigation and may severely jeopardize its effectiveness by allowing criminal parties an opportunity to flee, destroy evidence (stored electronically and otherwise), change patterns of behavior, and notify criminal confederates.
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