On the morning of August 8, while former president Donald Trump was away at an event in New York, FBI agents executed a federal search warrant at his residence at Mar-a-Lago. They left with more than a dozen boxes containing eleven sets of documents, four marked “top-secret,” the rest highly classified.
The precise content of the documents remains unknown. Some of them may pertain to Trump’s pardons of political operative Roger Stone and former national security advisor Michael Flynn. More ominously, a few of the documents are thought to contain information related to nuclear weapons. We’ll know more when the affidavit used to obtain the search warrant—showing probable cause for the crimes of obstruction of justice and the removal of documents, as well as violations of the Espionage Act—becomes public. For now, the unprecedented “raid,” authorized by Attorney General Merrick Garland, represents the Justice Department’s most serious effort to investigate Trump for potential crimes committed during his presidency.
Echoing the fury of the MAGA base, Republican leaders have reacted with predictable outrage. Trump himself led the charge, moaning about his “broken safe” while spewing misinformation about planted evidence, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden. Trump left it to others, like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, to mention Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server: “Maybe someone here can remind me about when they did a search warrant at Hillary’s house in Chappaqua,” DeSantis mused at a campaign event in Arizona.