Trump denies report that FBI sought nuclear documents during Mar-a-Lago search

Seth Herald
·4 min read

Former President Donald Trump on Friday denied a report from The Washington Post that said FBI agents were looking for classified documents related to nuclear weapons, among other items, when they searched his Mar-a-Lago home this week.

On his Truth Social platform, Trump said that "Nuclear weapons is a hoax, just like Russia, Russia, Russia was a hoax," referring to then-special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

Trump attacked the officials involved with the search of his home, calling them "sleazy." He also suggested it was possible he was being framed, saying the agents who searched his home didn't want other people present in areas they were searching. "Planting information anyone?" he wrote.

NBC News has not independently verified the Washington Post report, published Thursday evening.

On Friday, Trump took a different tack, suggesting it wasn't unprecedented for a former president to possess nuclear-related documents. He claimed Obama kept millions of pages of documents, including some classified material that pertained to nuclear weapons.

The National Archives and Records Administration responded to Trump's claims by saying it was in possession of the Obama documents, which are destined for his presidential library, and that none of them are classified.

The agency said in a statement it "assumed exclusive legal and physical custody of Obama Presidential records when President Barack Obama left office in 2017, in accordance with the Presidential Records Act (PRA)."

The statement went on to say the agency "moved approximately 30 million pages of unclassified records to a NARA facility in the Chicago area, where they are maintained exclusively by NARA. Additionally, NARA maintains the classified Obama Presidential records in a NARA facility in the Washington, DC, area. As required by the PRA, former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores the Presidential records of his Administration."

A federal judge Friday unsealed the warrant for searching Trump's home. The list of files that were taken from Mar-a-Lago by FBI agents includes numerous top secret and other heavily classified documents, but it did not describe what they pertained to.

One document attached to the search warrant said federal agents were searching for “documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime and other items illegally possessed in violation of” three laws, including one that's a part of the Espionage Act.

Trump, who had resisted calls earlier in the week to make the documents public, said on Thursday night said he was in favor of the Justice Department making the documents public.

“Not only will I not oppose the release of documents related to the unAmerican, unwarranted, and unnecessary raid and break-in of my home in Palm Beach, Florida, Mar-a-Lago, I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents,” Trump said.

The explosive report from the Washington Post came just hours after Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday that he "personally approved" the warrant to search Trump’s Florida home Monday and that the Department of Justice had filed a motion to make the warrant public. Those documents were made public Friday afternoon after they were previously obtained by NBC News and other news organizations.

Trump this year had to return 15 boxes of documents that the National Archives and Records Administration said were improperly taken from the White House.

But months later, and before the FBI conducted its search, Trump received a federal grand jury subpoena for sensitive documents the government believed he retained after his departure from the White House, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to NBC News.

A separate source confirmed an earlier Wall Street Journal report by telling NBC News that “someone familiar” with documents inside Mar-a-Lago told investigators there may have been more classified documents at the club than were initially turned over, leading in part to the search Monday.

Garland on Thursday suggested that Trump had not turned over all of the material sought by the Justice Department.

Citing “two sources briefed on the classified documents” sought in the subpoena, The New York Times reported Thursday that federal officials were prompted to search Mar-a-Lago because uncollected material was particularly sensitive to national security.