By Jack Phillips
A federal judge unsealed more portions of the Department of Justice (DOJ) affidavit that was used to obtain an FBI search warrant of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago last week, revealing that the former commander-in-chief turned over Human Intelligence Control Systems and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) materials.
What the documents entailed was not disclosed by the government, according to the newly released version of the affidavit (pdf), which was uploaded Tuesday. More portions of the court document were unsealed, although much of it remained redacted.
In the copy of the document released on Friday, an FBI agent whose name was withheld said they “observed markings reflecting the following compliments/dissemination controls: HCS (Human Intelligence Control Systems), FISA, ORCON (originator controlled), NOFORN (not for release to foreign nationals), and SI (special intelligence)” earlier this year.
The DOJ investigation was triggered by a referral from the National Archives and Records Administration, which asserted it found classified records when Trump transferred records to the agency in January.
“Several of the documents also contained what appears to be [Trump’s] handwritten notes,” the newly unredacted portion of the affidavit also said.
That information was allegedly gleaned when FBI agents carried out a preliminary review of 15 boxes that were provided by Trump to the National Archives and Records Administration, identifying some documents with classification markings from May 16 to May 18 of this year. There were 184 documents bearing classification markings, including 92 documents marked as “secret” and 25 marked as “top secret.”
Trump and members of his team have said that he had a standing declassification order while he was in office, and days after the raid, he wrote that all of the documents obtained by the FBI were declassified by him.
Days later, he pointed to a memorandum issued during his final day in office saying he will declassify materials relating to the FBI Crossfire Hurricane investigation. Under that investigation, the FBI obtained warrants via a FISA court to electronically surveil former Trump campaign aide Carter Page as part of their investigation into whether Trump colluded with Russia.
It was later revealed that the FBI relied on now-discredited information contained within a series of memos and notes written by former UK spy Christopher Steele, who was conducting opposition research on Trump during the 2016 campaign. Several of the warrants used to spy on Page were later deemed invalid by the DOJ.
Former White House adviser Kash Patel, meanwhile, told the Wall Street Journal in mid-August he believes some of the materials taken by the FBI related to the Russia investigation and described the raid as politically motivated.
“It had to do with Russiagate. It had to do with the Hillary email scandal. It had to do with a whole lot of other stuff. And Trump said, ‘This is all declassified,’” Patel said.