Among material presumably removed from former President Trump home there were numerous empty folders that once contained secret information or information to be returned by the military when resuming questions over consequences of possible mishandling of records and whether they have since been restored.
In the Department of Justice inventory, printed out by the judge on Friday, government in detail that interspersed with 48 empty folders become Trump’s personal belongings with secret banners as well as 42 more empty folders marked “return to employees secretary/military assistant,” the statement said.
Most were found in Trump’s office is not a warehouse in Mar-a-Lago.
Is not clear if materials folders that were once placed are in a different location in boxes of restored evidence, but experts say the set of raises questions item argues in service of allowing the Justice Department to continue the investigation, even as Trump tries to slow it down progress.
“The ideal scenario to describe this is that empty folders are actually for records that are somewhere else in boxes – the one who just didn’t keep them in Folder in in way they were supposed to, so they’re not really out there in somewhere in the wild,” said Kel McClanahan, executive director of National Security Advisors, a non-profit law firm specializing in in national security law.
“The least optimistic scenario is that they will not be anywhere. found because they already with somebody else.”
Inventory list was handed over to U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon shortly before she heard arguments from Trump’s attorney. team with a request to suspend the FBI investigation so that a thirdparty special master could review evidence to defend what they claim may be privileged material. The Department of Justice argued that such move not needed as own team of personnel not assigned to this case, already reviewed the evidence for privileged material.
In addition to empty folders, the details of Friday’s inventory in broad strokes other types of documents that were found within office among the trenches of more more than 100 recovered secret records: three documents marked as confidential, 17 documents marked as secret and seven documents marked top-secret.
Larry Pfeiffer, who previously served senior director of Operations Room of the White House and was the chief of CIA officers said system for tracing secret documents should allow investigators to answer for what kind information should to be in folders and determine if it’s still on website.
But he expressed concern that fact that they even ended up in Mar-a-Lago can mean right record- retention – even with career national security personnel on hand in the White House may not have been taken seriously.
“For me it sounds like or there was a terrible system failure in those processes, no. 1., or those people just felt completely intimidated by Trump and people Around him. Or were people who were completely operating around system — that the documents were flowing in as well as out of Oval and up to the residence without even going through that tracking process,” Pfeiffer told The Hill.
“I think that it’s possible This was mistake. I think that it’s possible these were the folders in which the documents were stored, already found. But I’m worried that it could be folders with other documents. in them, and now the mystery is, where are the rest of the documents? And this scary part.”
It includes materials which expressly states that they must be returned to military.
“All that has gone before in Folder should were returned. The folder located there says that this is not so, ”said Pfeiffer.
Inventory list notes that the entries were found mixed with clothes, books and other personal items, as well as about 10,000 presidential documents, which are likely to should kept in the National Archives.
What were they kept with Trump’s things – and in some cases in his office – can be an important detail for Ministry of Justice, one they alluded to in their submissions. The department noted that “all evidence, including nature and way in which they were stored, ”their investigation will report.
“Mixing of all this shows that there was no care with these records in several different points in process, because at least one of two things happened to lead to this scenario.” — McClanahan national security lawyer said.
“No. 1. while he was in office he or his employees haphazardly mixed all this secret and unclassified material together in crates showing they didn’t handle them properly in in office. Or two, after he got home he started digging through boxes and unpacking things in and take things out that would show what happened clear awareness and participation of secret nature of this is material. I think it will probably be a mixture of two, he added.
Document confusion also adds another dimension in special main case. Cannon noted that she will weigh whether allow intelligence community continue your review of potential national safety implications due to mishandling of material including how to protect sources and methods. review heads the Office of director of National Intelligence (ODNI).
“I don’t think detecting empty folders gives any more urgency than this already deserves. fact It is something of top secret documents in our government sat idle in storage facilities at the golf resort in Florida mixed with heap of other things that are clearly people [without clearances] could have physical access to… scary,” Pfeiffer said.
“Urgency exists regardless of of were there empty folders found or not. And therefore, having special Master can now potentially stop damage assessment/risk evaluation of what ODNI is doing, that would be another delay we shouldn’t put up with”.
Others warn no good way block the Justice Department work letting the mind community make your own assessment of the possible consequences.
“The FBI investigation and the Intelligence Community (IC) assessments are inextricably intertwined from a counterintelligence perspective.” – Brian Greer former A CIA attorney told The Hill via email.
“For risk assessment, it is important for IC to know who have access to this document, and they can only get it from the FBI. But if a court forbids the FBI from accessing certain classified documents because they may be subject to executive privilege, that process will be disrupted. down”.
A gun declined make an immediate decision on the thing is, when everyone side presented their case on Thursday, but McClanahan said if she granted Trump’s request, it could end up backfiring. for a former the president who often insists that he was treated unfairly.
He noted special the master could easily decide that the FBI was not getting any materials what should be protected by attorney-client or executive privilege, as Trump claims.
“He won’t be able to say, ‘the privilege of the Department of Justice review team wrongfully decided it, – he would have to say, – the privilege of the Department of Justice review team and a subject matter expert whom I asked for and a federal judge made a wrongful decision,” McClanahan said.
“As well as in en area like this is not so much of room for him being right is very risky move”.