A bipartisan "Gang of 8" — comprised of congressional leadership — reportedly requested access to documents taken from the FBI's Aug. 8 raid of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort.
The top-level lawmakers are asking for the Department of Justice and FBI's assistance in learning more about the Florida search, which reportedly took 9½ hours.
This request comes on the heels of Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner, D-Va., and Vice Chair Marco Rubio, R-Fla., requesting a Senate assessment of the "national security risks" affiliated with Trump's handling of sensitive documents — including whether then-President Trump declassified all the materials before relocating from the White House to Mar-a-Lago.
On Truth Social on Friday, Trump said the records at issue were "all declassified" and placed in "secure storage."
"They didn't need to 'seize' anything," Trump wrote. "[Federal officials] could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago."
The "Gang of 8" members are Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.; and Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, along with Warner and Rubio.
According to Politico, Capitol Hill aides have been frustrated with the lack of information provided by Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
On Friday, Newsmax reported that FBI agents removed 11 sets of classified documents, including some marked as top secret. Also, the DOJ said that prosecutors had probable cause to believe Trump may have violated the Espionage Act.
On Thursday, while serving as a studio guest on "Rob Schmitt Tonight," Trump attorney Alina Habba told Newsmax the Mar-a-Lago affidavit implied potential guilt for the former president on three fronts — concealment, espionage, and destruction of documents.
To which, Habba responded: If the DOJ claims concealment, "you wouldn't have allowed [federal agents] into Mar-a-Lago," Habba said.
If the DOJ cites espionage, Habba said the Trump attorneys wouldn't have been transparent about federal officials viewing the documents in June.
And if the DOJ argues destruction, Habba says Trump's people wouldn't have responded positively to the feds' request of putting a padlock on the presidential documents.
"What people don't understand: Presidents have different kinds of privileges — executive privileges," said Habba, adding that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama exercised similar declassification privileges with documents after leaving office in 2009 and 2017, respectively.
A number of media groups have filed legal motions to request the full unsealing of U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart's search warrant and affidavit. A recent Reinhart opinion implied that could happen fast.
"Given the intense public and historical interest in an unprecedented search of a former President's residence, the Government has not yet shown that these administrative concerns are sufficient to justify sealing," Reinhart wrote.
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