Aug 12, 2022
FBI agents were reportedly seeking to recover classified nuclear weapons documents and other items when they raided Donald Trump's Florida home earlier this week, a move that set off an immediate firestorm of backlash from the former president's far-right loyalists.
According to the Washington Post, which cited unnamed people familiar with the Justice Department's ongoing investigation, it's unclear whether the nuclear documents were among the dozen boxes of material that FBI agents seized from Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence on Monday.
"Experts in classified information said the unusual search underscores deep concern among government officials about the types of information they thought could be located at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club and potentially in danger of falling into the wrong hands," the Post reported late Thursday.
The Post story does not specify precisely what kind of nuclear weapons documents the FBI was trying to find. This spring, Trump reportedly received a Justice Department subpoena for documents but apparently did not comply. Earlier this year, the National Archives and Records Administration retrieved more than a dozen boxes of White House documents from Mar-a-Lago.
Derek Johnson, managing partner at Global Zero--a campaign that supports the elimination of nuclear weapons--responded with alarm that "the criminal who stole top secret nuclear documents is the same one who had absolute authority to order a nuclear attack at any time."
In a similar vein, the advocacy group Public Citizen wrote on Twitter that "a president who was deemed unfit to manage this bird app stole documents related to nuclear weapons and refused to comply to return them."
The Post's reporting came hours after U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a Thursday afternoon press conference that the Justice Department has filed a motion to unseal the search warrant that authorized the raid of Mar-a-Lago.
Garland didn't offer any new details of the investigation during his brief remarks.
As Garland addressed the media, police were engaged in an hourslong standoff with an armed, body armor-clad man who allegedly attempted to breach the FBI's Cincinnati office. Police shot and killed the man, identified as 42-year-old Ricky Shiffer, following failed negotiations after he fled the scene, authorities said.
The Associated Pressreported that Shiffer is "believed to have been in Washington in the days leading up to the January 6, 2021 insurrection and may have been present at the Capitol on the day of the attack."
"Federal investigators are examining whether Shiffer may have had ties to far-right extremist groups, including the Proud Boys," AP added.
The Post noted Thursday that "a person using Shiffer's name on TruthSocial, Trump's social media site, posted a 'call to arms' message shortly after Monday's FBI search became public."
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