Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) reacted on air Monday to a recent report that the federal government has recovered greater than 300 classified documents this 12 months from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
“Jesus,” Swalwell said as he was informed of the report from The Latest York Times during his interview on MSNBC. “That’s rather a lot.”
Swalwell, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said top secret documents are sometimes designated as such to guard U.S. military troops or to shield nuclear secrets and counterterrorism efforts.
“Just to your viewers’ sake, the rationale that they’re marked ‘top secret’ signifies that it often pertains to force protection for our troops,” he said. “So, details about where our troops are that we might not want anyone to know since it could put them in harm’s way. It could relate to our nuclear posture or the nuclear posture of our adversaries.”
“And so 300 pages, you realize, only a basement stairway away in an open beach house is just not where you’ll want that information, especially within the hands of any individual who President Biden deemed shouldn’t even give you the chance to receive classified information.”
Shortly after taking office, President Joe Biden barred Trump from receiving intelligence briefings traditionally given to former presidents, citing his “erratic behavior” and concerns he might share the knowledge.
The Times reported Monday that the federal government recovered greater than 300 documents with classified markings from Trump since he left office.
That figure was divided amongst three batches of documents recovered on separate occasions: about 150 documents that were handed over to the National Archives in January, one other batch handed over by Trump’s aides to the Justice Department in June and the documents seized by the FBI in its Aug. 8 search of the property.
After the primary set of documents were handed over in January, officials reportedly grew concerned that more sensitive material was taken to the Palm Beach resort from the White House.
Justice Department officials subpoenaed any additional material in June but authorized the search after security video and data from Trump’s allies led them to consider there was still more material stored on the Florida compound.
The search warrant revealed that Trump is under investigation for possible violations of the Espionage Act.