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Trump lawyer claimed no classified material was at Mar-a-Lago in signed letter to Justice Department

Aug 13, 2022, 1:02 PM
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 11: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland explains to reporters that he wil...
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 11: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland explains to reporters that he will not take questions after he delivered a statement at the U.S. Department of Justice August 11, 2022 in Washington, DC. Garland addressed the FBI's recent search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence, announcing the Justice Department has filed a motion to unseal the search warrant as well as a property receipt for what was taken. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

(CNN) — One of former President Donald Trump’s attorneys signed a letter in June asserting that there was no more classified information stored at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The letter signed by the attorney raises fresh questions about the number of people who may have legal exposure in the ongoing investigation into the handling of classified materials from Trump’s time in the White House.

The probe reached dramatic heights earlier this week when the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, with agents removing 11 sets of classified documents.

The sources did not identify when the letter was signed or by whom. It was part of an ongoing correspondence with the Justice Department over the issue.

The New York Times first reported the existence of the letter.

CNN previously reported that following a June meeting at Mar-a-Lago, where Justice officials left with classified information, investigators developed evidence, including from a witness, that led investigators to believe there still was more classified information in documents stored at the complex.

Court documents unsealed and released on Friday identify three federal crimes that the DOJ is looking at as part of its investigation: violations of the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice and criminal handling of government records. The inclusion of the crimes indicated the department had probable cause to investigate those offenses as it was gathering evidence in the search. No one has been charged with a crime.

The June meeting included Trump lawyers Evan Corcoran, Christina Bobb and federal investigators, including Jay Bratt, the chief of the counterintelligence and export control section at the Justice Department, CNN has previously reported.

A separate source maintains that Trump representatives told investigators in the June meeting that Trump had declassified all the documents.

Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich said in a statement to CNN: “Just like every Democrat-fabricated witch hunt previously, the water of this unprecedented and unnecessary raid is being carried by a media willing to run with suggestive leaks, anonymous sources, and no hard facts.”

The Times noted in its report that the lawyer’s statement “is a possible indication that Mr. Trump or his team were not fully forthcoming with federal investigators about the material. And it could help explain why a potential violation of a criminal statute related to obstruction was cited by the department as one basis for seeking the search warrant used to carry out the daylong search of the former president’s home.”

The National Archives, charged with collecting and sorting presidential material, has previously said at least 15 boxes of White House records were recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort — including some that were classified.

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Trump lawyer claimed no classified material was at Mar-a-Lago in signed letter to Justice Department