An intelligence expert on Wednesday expressed astonishment over new reporting about classified material stashed at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
According to sources who spoke with The Washington Post, one of the classified documents seized by the FBI at Trump's Florida residence described the nuclear capabilities and military defenses of a foreign power.
“It's hard to know what to make of the significance of this document because the [Washington] Post was not able to determine whether or not it had classification markings,” said Ken Dilanian, the justice and intelligence correspondent for NBC News, during an appearance on MSNBC.
The document could be “a think tank report or some of the most highly classified information in the U.S. government,” he continued. “We just don’t know. But the Post did describe some of the other documents that have been taken from Mar-a-Lago, and just how classified they are, including special access programs.”
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He explained that such programs “are briefed to only a small number of people inside the U.S. government, and basically the president and his top cabinet secretaries.”
“They are usually locked within a safe within a special room, so the idea that they were at a golf club is just unimaginable,” Dilanian remarked.
Trump is facing mounting legal pressure, with the Justice Department saying top secret documents were "likely concealed" to obstruct an FBI probe into Trump's potential mishandling of classified materials.
When agents searched the Mar-a-Lago resort on August 8, they found material so sensitive that "even the FBI counterintelligence personnel and DOJ attorneys conducting the review required additional clearances before they were permitted to review certain documents," a government court filing said.
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The FBI raid came after a review of "highly classified" records that Trump finally surrendered to authorities in January after months of back and forth with the National Archives and Records Administration.
The 15 boxes handed over by Trump were found to contain 184 documents marked as confidential, secret or top secret.
After prompting from the FBI, Trump's lawyer eventually turned over an additional 38 classified documents -- and provided "sworn certification" that they represented the last of the material.
But the FBI went on to uncover "multiple sources of evidence" showing classified documents remained at Mar-a-Lago.
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With additional reporting by AFP
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