Report that search missed ‘hidden’ room at Mar-a-Lago notes ‘insider informed FBI’
Special counsel Jack Smith’s team questioned several witnesses about a “hidden room” and closet that the FBI did not examine during a search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in 2022, sources said. Letters of News.
Sources told the outlet that after the search, some investigators believed that the locker, which was locked during the search, should have been examined. Investigators later learned that Trump had changed the lock on the safe while his attorney was searching for classified documents in a basement storage room, according to the report. Sources told the outlet that a former maintenance worker described the request as “unusual.”
Trump Concealment efforts Confidential documents from his attorneys were part of Smith’s indictment. The questioning indicates that Smith’s team is still “trying to determine whether there are more classified documents,” ABC News reports.
Jordan Strauss, a national security official and former Justice Department prosecutor, said the FBI’s failure to search the vault was “a little astonishing” given how “meticulous” the agents were in particular.
“You’re searching the home of a former president. (You should) do it right the first time,” he told ABC News.
Agents couldn’t open the closet door because they couldn’t find the key and were told the space behind the door didn’t go anywhere, so agents decided not to break it, sources told the outlet.
Agents also decided they felt they had been at Mar-a-Lago long enough, but a senior FBI official disagreed, sources said.
“Discussions took place that day about additional areas of the property, and it was determined that the actions already taken met the criteria for a search warrant,” the official said.
Strauss questioned the FBI’s decision.
“(The FBI) is known for its candor and follow-up,” Strauss said.
Sources told the outlet that the FBI also failed to search the so-called “hidden room” connected to Trump’s bedroom. Smith’s team was later told that some Trump staffers had heard that the FBI had missed at least one room at Mar-a-Lago. Unlike the Treasury, the FBI was not aware of the existence of the “hidden room” at the time of the search, the sources said.
A senior FBI official told ABC News that agents focused on areas they believed might contain government documents.
“Based on the information collected during the investigation, the areas were identified and searched pursuant to the search warrant,” the official said.
It is unclear whether prosecutors or Trump’s lawyers were aware of the unexamined spaces and whether Smith considered seeking another search warrant to search Mar-a-Lago for additional documents.
A Trump campaign spokesman described the investigations into the former president as “desperate attempts to interfere in the election…to stop the presumptive Republican nominee for president.”
Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissman, who worked on Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s team, chirp The report notes that “an insider informed the FBI,” suggesting there is “another cooperating witness” in the case.
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Former US Attorney Joyce Vance on her Subblog He described the FBI’s failure to search the closet and hidden room as “troubling.”
“It is incomprehensible that the agents did not insist on being provided with the key or breaking the lock in order to look into the space. Important national secrets were at risk, and they were allowed to look into any space under Trump’s control where they could be stored,” Vance wrote.
She noted that although investigators do not appear to be seeking a second search warrant, that “doesn’t mean this evidence can’t be useful.”
“The core of the case against Trump is his attempt to obstruct the investigation and prevent the government from recovering classified materials, even after his lawyers advised him that he was required to return them,” she wrote. “If Jack Smith’s team finds evidence that Trump, for example, changed the lock on his safe and stored documents there to hide them from the government, that will be powerful when the case goes to court.”
(Tags for translation)Donald Trump