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Trump legal team hands over additional classified folder to Justice Dept.

The FBI searched former president Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate for missing documents in August. (Justice Department/AP)
3 min

Former president Donald Trump’s legal team recently gave the Justice Department an additional folder with classified markings that the team said was found at Mar-a-Lago, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe an interaction between the federal government and Trump’s counsel.

It was unclear what was in the folder — if anything — these people said. It was found in January at the former president’s Florida estate and private club, which had previously been searched by the FBI in August. The folder was voluntarily handed over to the department, one of these people said. Trump is spending the winter at the Palm Beach, Fla., club where the folder was found.

Trump’s lawyers hired outside investigators to search his other properties in recent months, and they found additional classified materials at a storage facility in West Palm Beach, Fla., that was being used by the former president.

News of the additional folder being found was first reported by ABC News. A Trump spokesman did not have an immediate comment.

There has been a lengthy and fierce battle between Trump’s attorneys and the Justice Department in a Washington federal court in recent weeks, according to people familiar with the matter. Much of the legal wrangling remains under seal on a federal judge’s order, but people familiar with the matter say the Justice Department has raised concerns about what prosecutors view as a long-standing failure to fully comply with the May subpoena by Trump’s team.

Trump’s team has told a federal judge that they have searched his other properties for documents, but federal prosecutors have been suspicious of their behavior and previously asked a judge to hold them in contempt, The Washington Post has reported. So far, that has not happened.

In early August, agents got a judge’s approval to conduct a search of Mar-a-Lago, and found 103 classified documents, 18 of which were labeled top secret. That was on top of another 184 classified documents that the former president handed over to the National Archives and Records Administration in early 2022 and another 38 handed over by the former president’s lawyer in June.

Court papers say the Justice Department has been investigating Trump and his advisers for three potential crimes: mishandling of national security secrets, obstruction and destruction of government records.

Special counsel Jack Smith was appointed late last year to probe the matter, and people familiar with the case say he has continued to conduct interviews and subpoena witnesses.

The Post has reported that Trump was haphazard in handling classified materials, and many of the documents found since he left office were in various areas of the club, including an underground storage area.

Devlin Barrett contributed to this report.