Former Mueller prosecutor explains why law enforcement would have taken Trump's passports
Donald Trump (Photo via Saul Loeb for AFP)

Former President Donald Trump claimed that the FBI took three of his passports during the execution of the search warrant last week. One of the passports was an old/expired one, another was the regular passport and the third was likely one used for diplomatic purposes as president and now as a former president.

Speaking to MSNBC on Monday, former Justice Department official and prosecutor for special counsel Robert Mueller, Andrew Weissmann explained that there are a few reasons that the FBI might take Trump's passport.

First, he explained, the FBI didn't list it in the chain of materials that they took associated with the search warrant. So, the passports weren't considered evidence that had to do with the case.

Aside from that, he explained there are two reasons that law enforcement takes passports.

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"One is because of a concern over risk of flight that they're going to leave the country," said Weissmann. "And so you take the passport. Usually, it's voluntarily with their lawyer being advised. And the second is because you're interested in their movements. And you want to know where they've gone. I have to say, neither of those seem like they're likely in this situation. So, I'm a little perplexed about this story if it's true. Of course, you know, I have to say that Donald Trump is very good at creating distractions that cause us to go off on tangents when he hasn't answered why did he have the documents there? Why didn't he return them? And what was he planning to do with them? Instead, he's talking about passports."

His other point, regarding the inventory list of the FBI warrant that was released on Friday, is not specific enough to give a document-by-document account of what they obtained.

"There are categories in the inventory that correctly encompass things like passports. So although it's not specifically called out, there are lots of documents that are not specifically called out. So it is probably not an oversight if, in fact, they took the passports."

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