Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Classified documents are pictured on the floor of Trump's Florida home

Documents marked "secret" and "top secret" are pictured at former President Donald Trump's Florida home. (Photo: U.S. Department of Justice)

DOJ Releases Photo of 'Top Secret' Documents Seized From Trump's Home

In a new filing, the Justice Department says Trump's team likely tried to obstruct a probe into the former president's removal of classified documents from the White House.

Jake Johnson

The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday released a photo of classified documents it retrieved from Donald Trump's Florida home earlier this month, the latest disclosure in its investigation into the former president's removal of secret government records from the White House following his 2020 election loss.

The heavily redacted photo, which shows documents clearly marked "secret" and "top secret" sprawled out on carpet, accompanied a new 36-page filing in which the Department of Justice said it compiled evidence that "efforts were likely taken to obstruct" its investigation, a finding that puts members of Trump's team and potentially the former president himself in even more legal jeopardy.

The filing notes that the FBI "developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed" from a Mar-a-Lago storage room that Trump's team claimed was the location of all the documents removed from the White House.

"Against that backdrop, and relying on the probable cause that the investigation had developed at that time, on August 5, 2022," the filing reads, "the government applied to Magistrate Judge Reinhart for a search and seizure warrant, which cited three statutes: 18 U.S.C. § 793 (Willful retention of national defense information), 18 U.S.C. § 2071 (Concealment or removal of government records), and 18 U.S.C. § 1519 (Obstruction of federal investigation)."

Federal agents ultimately removed more than 30 boxes of material from the White House during its recent raid of Mar-a-Lago, which set off a firestorm of reaction from the former president's far-right base and his loyalists in Congress.

The FBI's stated finding that documents were "concealed and removed" from the Mar-a-Lago storage room conflicts with a sworn certification provided to the Justice Department by one of Trump's attorneys, believed to be Christina Bobb.

The certification states that after receiving a subpoena for the documents in the spring of this year, a "diligent search was conducted of the boxes that were moved from the White House... in order to locate any and all documents that are responsive to the subpoena."

DOJ's filing notes that "counsel for the former president represented that all the records that had come from the White House were stored in one location—a storage room at the premises."

But when federal agents arrived at Mar-a-Lago in early June to retrieve the documents requested under the subpoena, "the former president's counsel explicitly prohibited government personnel from opening or looking inside any of the boxes that remained in the storage room, giving no opportunity for the government to confirm that no documents with classification markings remained."

The Justice Department seized the remaining documents during its raid earlier this month.

DOJ's Tuesday filing came days after the agency made public a redacted version of a 38-page affidavit that backed the raid of Trump's Florida home on August 8.

Reuters noted early Wednesday that the filings were released "ahead of a Thursday court hearing before U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon in West Palm Beach."

"She is weighing Trump's request to appoint a special master who would conduct a privilege review of the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago," the outlet reported. "The Justice Department on Tuesday said it opposed the appointment of a special master. Trump, prosecutors argued, lacks standing in the case because the records 'do not belong to him.'"


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

California Gov Newsom Proposes Windfall Profits Tax on Big Oil

Calls for windfall profits taxes have increased globally in recent weeks

Common Dreams staff ·


'Incredible': Omar and Khanna Staffers Join Levin's Office in Unionizing

"It is long past time the United States Congress became a unionized workplace, and that includes my own staff," said Rep. Ilhan Omar. "I am proud of all the people on my team who have played a leading role in the staff unionization effort. Solidarity forever."

Jessica Corbett ·


Destructive Hurricanes Fuel Calls for Biden to Declare Climate Emergency

"Mother Nature is not waiting for the president or Congress to declare a climate emergency. She's showing us in real-time here in the United States—with wildfires, floods, heatwaves, hurricanes, and drought."

Jessica Corbett ·


Spain Approves 'Solidarity' Tax to Make Nation's Top 0.1% Pay a Fairer Share

The country's finance minister said that looming changes are bound to make the tax code "more progressive, efficient, fair, and also enough to guarantee social justice and economic efficiency."

Kenny Stancil ·


'Time to Take to the Streets': Working Class Hold 'Enough Is Enough' Rallies Across UK

"Does a CEO need an extra zero at the end of their salary—or should nurses, posties, and teachers be able to heat their homes?" said one supporter ahead of the #EnoughIsEnough National Day of Action.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo