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Intel Officials to Assess National Security Consequences of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Documents

The correspondence represents the first known engagement of the Biden administration with Congress on the subject of the ongoing investigation ensnaring the former president. Court documents unsealed in recent days have revealed that the Justice Department is investigating possible violations of the Presidential Records Act, the Espionage Act, and obstruction of justice.

It is also the first known acknowledgment by the intelligence community of the potential harm caused by the missing documents, which prosecutors said Friday included human-source intelligence and information gathered from foreign intercepts. Top lawmakers have been clamoring for details about the documents’ contents since the Mar-a-Lago raid on Aug. 8, but so far neither intelligence committees nor congressional leaders who are part of the so-called Gang of the Eight have been informed.

Haines’ response came the same day a federal judge unsealed a redacted version of the affidavit outlining the Justice Department’s rationale for obtaining a search warrant for Mar-a-Lago. The affidavit revealed that prosecutors believed Trump had a variety of top-secret documents at his private residence, including some of the former president’s handwritten notes.

“We are pleased that, in response to our inquiry, Director Haines has confirmed that the intelligence community and the Department of Justice are assessing the damage caused by improper storage of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago,” Schiff and Maloney said. in a joint statement. statement to POLITICO. “The Justice Department affidavit, partially unsealed yesterday, affirms our grave concern that among the documents stored at Mar-a-Lago were those that could endanger human sources. It is critical that the IC act quickly to assess and, if necessary, mitigate the harm caused, a process that must proceed in parallel with the Justice Department’s criminal investigation.”

The intelligence community’s review is likely to cover whether any unauthorized person had access to the highly sensitive documents. Previously, the Department of Justice warned about the lack of security of the records within the Trump estate. That question could also influence the criminal investigation, as Justice Department counterintelligence investigators determine whether highly classified records were compromised in any way.

The Senate Intelligence Committee also asked the intelligence community to conduct a harm assessment related to Trump’s handling of the documents, but the investigation was bipartisan. The panel’s chair, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), and vice chair, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), signed the request.

In addition to informing Maloney and Schiff of his office’s intent to conduct a damage assessment, Haines sent a similar response to Warner and Rubio on Friday.

The Senate duo also asked the Justice Department to give the committee access to the specific documents that were seized at Mar-a-Lago. A broader group of congressional leaders also asked to see the documents.

In a statement earlier Saturday, Rubio noted that the Justice Department has not yet responded to the committee’s letter, but made no reference to Haines’ response.

“The Senate Intelligence Committee is still awaiting information from the Department of Justice regarding the specific intelligence documents seized at Mar-a-Lago and what required an unprecedented search warrant at President Trump’s residence,” Rubio said.

Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.

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