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Over 10,000 govt docs without classified markings were seized from Mar-a-Lago, DOJ says

Besides documents marked top secret and classified, newly unsealed information shows Trump also had a mountain of other documents and photos.
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In addition to troves of information marked "secret" and "top secret," the FBI's search of former President Donald Trump's Florida home turned up over 10,000 U.S. government documents and photographs without classification markings, a newly unsealed Justice Department inventory of the seized items shows.

The Justice Department court filing, filed under seal earlier this week but unsealed by a judge Friday, also shows investigators found more than 40 empty folders with "classified" banners on them at Mar-a-Lago. It's unclear what happened to the information that had been inside the folders.

They also found almost four dozen empty folders marked "Return to Staff Secretary/Military Aide," according to the detailed property inventory.

The government has not publicly indicated that it believes any classified documents are missing. In a court filing earlier this week, it noted that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is leading a damage assessment of the documents removed from Mar-a-Lago, to determine the potential risk to national security that "improper storage of these highly sensitive materials may have caused" and identify "measures to rectify or mitigate" such damages.

As for the 11,179 documents and photos without classification markings, they were found mixed in with classified material, in boxes and containers in Trump’s office and a storage room. An NBC News analysis of the Justice Department's inventory found that of those documents, 1,467 were recovered from Trump's office.

The court filing does not describe the subject matter of the 11,000-plus items, nor does it specify the breakdown between documents and photos.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon ordered the information in the more detailed property receipt to be unsealed during a hearing Thursday on Trump's request to have a special master review the evidence collected by the FBI in the Aug. 8 search.

Trump's lawyers had complained that the initial property receipt the government had given them after the search — which showed that federal agents had removed 11 sets of classified documents, including some labeled secret and top secret — was too vague and didn't say which items were found where.

The new version doesn't shed much more light on the documents that investigators found, but it does show that a large number of them were found inside boxes and containers inside Trump's "45 office" in the resort. The receipt said 17 documents marked "secret" were found in the office as well as seven marked "top secret."

That's significant because Trump's attorneys had told investigators that all the records that had come from the White House were being kept in a Mar-a-Lago storage room, which agents had asked be kept secure, according to the government's court filings. That exchange happened in June, after the government subpoenaed Trump to turn over all documents with classification markings and Trump's lawyer assured them that they had.

The Justice Department said the August search turned over "one hundred unique documents with classification markings," and the new property receipt indicates some were kept in a haphazard manner. One "box/container" in the storage room contained 21 documents marked "Secret" and 11 documents marked "Confidential" alongside newspaper clippings, a book and three "articles of clothing/gift items."

In a statement Friday, Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich said the "new ‘detailed’ inventory list only further proves that this unprecedented and unnecessary raid of President Trump’s home was not some surgical, confined search and retrieval," characterizing the search as a "SMASH AND GRAB."

“These document disputes should be resolved under the Presidential Records Act, which requires cooperation and negotiation" by the National Archives and Records Administration and "not an armed FBI raid," Budowich said.

Trump’s legal team sought to portray the investigation in court Thursday as a records case in which the former president was still entitled to the documents, an argument hotly disputed by the government and many legal experts.

Trump lawyer Chris Kise contended that the former president should be held to a different standard to others who have been prosecuted for mishandling sensitive records and documents. “This is not a case about some Department of Defense staffer stuffing military secrets into a paper bag and sneaking out into the middle of the night. This is about presidential records in the hands of the 45th president of the United States,” Kise told the judge.

As for the more detailed inventory list, he said, it’s “what you would expect if you looked through a bunch of boxes that were moved in a hurry from a residence or an office. It contains all sorts of things."

Lawyers for the Justice Department said all the government documents that were retrieved belong to the White House, not Trump, and that he and his lawyers flouted a subpoena demanding the return of all documents with classification markings.