Donald Trump campaigned for the 2016 presidential elections with the repeated proclamation that those responsible for the government who made negligent use of classified materials should be punished.
Those were the days when her rival Hillary Clinton was under the FBI scrutiny for handling documents with her private server when she was Secretary of State. Trump's rallying cry, which became a hallmark, still endures: "Lock her up." But once he was in the highest echelon of power in the United States, Trump seems to have been much less demanding about protocols and document retention rules, even if they contained some of the best-kept secrets in the country.
This is what can be deduced from the FBI entry and search operation at his Mar-a-Lago mansion, in Palm Beach (Florida), last Monday, and which would justify an unprecedented action in US history .
The ball has been on the former president's roof this Friday, after Merrick Garland, head of the Justice Department and the main target of Trump's anger, asked the Florida judge to allow the dissemination of the legal authorization that led to the search for secret papers in the mansion that was called the Winter White House.
This material, to which the description of highly classified programs is applied, would include documents related to nuclear weapons. This was announced by The Washington Post, citing sources familiar with the investigation. According to this advance, experts in classified information pointed out that this investigation underlines the deep concern of those responsible for the Government about the type of documents they thought could be located in Mar-a-Lago and the potential danger if they fell into the wrong hands. The Post indicated that its sources did not offer additional details regarding what type of information the agents were after, if this involved weapons belonging to the United States or to other nations. They also did not specify if those documents were recovered.
For its part, according to The Wall Street Journal, the FBI left Trump's mansion with 20 boxes of material, among which there would be 11 classified documents, some of them marked as Top secret. According to this newspaper, there was also information about "the president of France", and about the 11 classified documents, one set of them is classified as "top secret/sensitive"; four other sets are of "top secret" documents, three sets of secret documents, and others are considered confidential.
This order revealed that Trump is being investigated for three possible crimes: violation of the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice, and criminal handling of government records. At the moment no one is charged.
Authorities had expressed concern that these classified documents, located in Trump's offices, would make his efforts to prevent foreign adversaries from acquiring them vulnerable.
Nuclear weapons material is especially sensitive and generally restricted to a small group of government officials, experts said. Revealing details regarding US weapons offers an intelligence map to adversaries who want to equip themselves with mechanisms to counteract these systems. Other countries could see the exposure of their nuclear secrets as a threat.
In his social network, Trump followed his usual pattern and maintained that nuclear weapons "is a falsehood, like Russia, Russia..., Russia was a falsehood," he said, referring to the investigation that special prosecutor Robert Mueller carried out. about the possible help of the Kremlin to his electoral campaign. That ended without determining a direct connection, but no one doubted that Moscow hurt Clinton.
"The same sleazy agents are involved," he said of the FBI investigators. In his statement, he cast doubt on whether his lawyers were present “in some areas” –everything indicates that they were–, and spread the doubt, already very existing among his bases, as to whether those agents had put incriminating evidence.
The former president also assured that "not only am I not opposed to the dissemination of the anti-American raid, the unjustified and unnecessary invasion of my house, but I encourage it to be done immediately even though they have been prepared by radical left Democrats." .
Comments like these are what prompted Attorney General Garland to point out that Trump is bluffing. The former president does not need to wait for judicial authorization. Just as he gave the nation the first of the entry and search, described at all times as an operation carried out with great tact, he could also reveal what those court papers say, since he has the copy that the agents gave to his lawyers when the operation starts.
If Trump removed from the White House and had in one of his private properties that material on nuclear weapons, this raises the question of why a former president needs to have such secrets so reserved and guarded.
The possibility that this material is in a room lacking security, where the guests of the Mar-a-Lago club come and go and, therefore, potentially vulnerable to being obtained by foreign intelligence services would be factors that would have given urgency to the intervention of the FBI.
The request made by the Department of Justice to Judge Bruce Reinhart, of the Southern District of Florida, includes the search warrant and the inventory of the items sought.
On the other hand, Justice did not seek for the judge to make public the affidavit with the argumentation of the matter, a much longer text than the other two in which the case is related, with much more information regarding the behavior of the former president.
It is also believed that it is in this document that the name of the informant from Trump's entourage who collaborated in locating more papers, which were hidden and denied in the negotiation with the FBI, is given. This attempt to hide papers is what convinced investigators that the former president was not to be trusted.