Trump had secret documents on Iran, China in Florida home, says report

Investigators seized some 11,000 documents in a raid on Trump's Florida home in August. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON - Documents seized from former United States president Donald Trump’s Florida home in August included highly sensitive intelligence on Iran and China that risked exposure of US spying methods, The Washington Post reported on Friday.

Among the documents retrieved by Justice Department investigators were one that described Iran’s missile programme, and another that “described highly sensitive intelligence work aimed at China”, the Post said, citing people familiar with the case.

Investigators seized some 11,000 documents in the raid to recover what the government says should be in the US archives but which Mr Trump illegally took with him when he left the White House in January 2021. Among those were just over 100 classified documents, some of them classified as top secret and normally kept tightly under seal, with only a few people permitted to access them.

But at Mar-a-Lago they were kept in places including Mr Trump’s personal office, with little security, according to the Justice Department.

The department justified the raid on grounds of national security, indicating that Mr Trump was suspected of violating the Espionage Act, which forbids the retention and sharing of highly sensitive documents pertaining to national defence.

He was also suspected of obstruction, after his attorneys had told the department in June that there were no more government documents held at Mar-a-Lago. But he has not been charged.

After Mr Trump sued, the court appointed an independent “special master” to review the documents to see which ones could be covered by his claims of privilege over them.

Many of the documents, which mixed government records with Mr Trump’s personal legal and financial documents as well as press clippings and keepsakes, will be returned to him.

In a filing on Thursday to the special master, the Justice Department said that among the official government records, there were only 15 documents on which privilege is disputed by the two sides. AFP

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