“The only thing more concerning than finding classified documents in Donald Trump’s possession is finding the folders used to conceal classified documents empty and in Donald Trump’s possession.”
The U.S. Department of Justice on Friday released an inventory of items seized from former President Donald Trump’s Florida home last month, and one aspect of the newly disclosed document raised eyebrows and many questions: Namely, the listing of dozens of empty folders marked as “classified.”
“Where did the classified content go?” asked Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), voicing a sentiment also expressed by reporters and watchdogs in response to the inventory, which indicates that the FBI retrieved from Mar-a-Lago 18 documents marked “top secret,” 54 marked “secret,” and 48 empty folders with “classified” banners.
The document, which was ordered unsealed by a federal judge, also lists dozens of additional empty folders labeled as “return to staff secretary/military aide.”
The inventory offers no specific details on what the empty folders were supposed to contain, leaving observers to speculate on the sensitivity of the documents and where they may have ended up as the DOJ continues to investigate the former president’s removal of classified documents from the White House.
“The only thing more concerning than finding classified documents in Donald Trump’s possession is finding the folders used to conceal classified documents empty and in Donald Trump’s possession,” tweeted Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.). “This information must be accounted for—all of it.”
Judge Aileen Cannon has unsealed a more detailed inventory list of what was taken during the Mar-a-Lago search. One thing that stands out: several boxes had “empty folders with ‘CLASSIFIED’ banners.” Many contained magazine/newspapers/press articles. For example: pic.twitter.com/0uG275Vw4A
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) September 2, 2022
The Associated Press noted Friday that “the Justice Department has said there was no secure space at Mar-a-Lago for sensitive government secrets, and has opened a criminal investigation focused on their retention there and on what it says were efforts in the last several months to obstruct that probe.”
Earlier this week, the DOJ released a photo of classified documents that federal agents seized from Trump’s home during an August 8 raid. Previous reporting has indicated that classified nuclear weapons documents were among the files FBI officials were trying to recover in the Mar-a-Lago raid.
The Justice Department said in a court filing Tuesday that it “developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed” from a Mar-a-Lago storage room as investigators attempted to retrieve them, possibly further implicating Trump’s team and the former president himself in a criminal scheme to obstruct justice.
In a status report unsealed Friday, the DOJ said that “the seized materials will continue to be used to further the government’s investigation, and the investigative team will continue to use and evaluate the seized materials as it takes further investigative steps, such as through additional witness interviews and grand jury practice.”
“All evidence pertaining to the seized items—including, but not limited to, the nature and manner in which they have stored as well as any evidence with respect to particular documents or items of interest—will inform the government’s investigation,” the report reads.