washington – Former President Donald Trump’s passports that were seized by the FBI during the search conducted at his South Florida residence last week have been returned to the former president, a law enforcement source confirmed to CBS News.
The source said the passports were returned to Trump after they were discovered by a “filter team,” a group of federal investigators who monitor materials seized during the execution of a search warrant for inside information or alien
The FBI said in a statement that when executing search warrants, the bureau “follows court-ordered search and seizure procedures, then returns items we do not need to keep for law enforcement.”
In a post around 1:30 PM ET Monday on Truth Social, the former president’s social media platform, Trump claimed that the FBI “stole” three passports, one of which he said was expired, when the agents conducted the research from Mar-a-Lago last week.
“This was an assault on a political opponent on a level never before seen in our country,” he wrote. “Third World!”
A few hours later, Taylor Budowich, a spokesperson for Trump, shared on Twitter an email the former president’s lawyers received from Jay Bratt, a senior Justice Department official, alerting them that the passports had been taken and would be returned.
“We have learned that the filter agents confiscated three of President Trump’s passports, two expired and one that was his active diplomatic passport. We are returning them and they will be ready for pickup at WFO at 2pm today” , Bratt wrote in reference. in the field office of the office in Washington.
The email was sent to Trump’s lawyers at 12:49 pm ET on Monday, ahead of the former president’s accusation that the FBI stole his passports. The law enforcement source also confirmed the accuracy of the email from Bratt, who is the head of the Department of Justice’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.
In searching Mar-a-Lago last week, FBI agents seized 11 sets of classified documents, including boxes containing records marked “secret,” “top secret,” “confidential” and “classified/TS /SCI” or top secret. /sensitive compartmentalized information, according to the search warrant and receipt of the property unsealed by a federal federal judge in Florida on Friday.
The warrant and accompanying documents also indicated that the president is under investigation for possible violations of three federal statutes, including the Espionage Act, and specifically the section of that law that involves the collection, transmission or loss of information from defense
Since the FBI investigation, Trump has repeatedly criticized the Justice Department and the office, claiming without evidence that it was a politically motivated attack on a likely 2024 presidential challenger to Biden.
On Friday, the former president said his legal team had been complying with government requests related to the records, but CBS News learned that weeks before the search, one of Trump’s lawyers signed a document certifying that all classified materials had been removed from Mar-a-Lago. The certification followed a June 3 meeting between Justice Department officials and Trump’s lawyers at the South Florida property, and a grand jury subpoena was also issued in the spring, according to two sources .
After the former president’s lawyer certified that all the classified materials had been recovered from Mar-a-Lago, investigators learned there could be more.
Trump has also claimed that some of the documents taken by the FBI were protected under attorney-client privilege and executive privilege, “which they knowingly should not have been taken.” Bratt’s reference to filter agents, however, suggests that the FBI is working to ensure that federal prosecutors do not process privileged material outside the scope of the search warrant.
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