Trump Admin-Saudi Nuclear Probe Resurfaces Ahead of Warrant Unseal

A probe into Donald Trump's interactions with Saudi Arabia has resurfaced following a report FBI agents who raided the former president's Florida residence were seeking documents related to nuclear weapons.

Citing anonymous experts in classified information, The Washington Post said the search showed concern among U.S. government officials about what kind of information could be located at the Mar-a-Lago Club and whether it could fall into the wrong hands.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said he approved the decision for the search warrant at the resort. The Justice Department has filed a motion to make the warrant public, which could happen on Friday afternoon.

While the Post said these sources provided no further details over whether the documents were recovered, what the information was and which countries it pertained to, the raid has focused minds on an investigation released in February 2019.

That House of Representatives report highlighted whistleblowers' concerns with the Trump Administration's "efforts to transfer sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia," and was tweeted on Thursday by Judd Legum, who runs the Popular Information newsletter.

Trump and MBS
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and ex-President Donald Trump at the G20 Summit in Osaka on June 28, 2019. A House report from that year criticizing Trump's interactions with Saudi Arabia has resurfaced following reports that a raid of his Florida property sought nuclear weapons documents. Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

"We don't know why Trump took classified nuclear docs," Legum said in a follow-up tweet. "But certain nuclear information would have very high economic value to Saudi Arabia and other governments."

Fordham University law professor Jed Shugerman tweeted: "Why would Trump want to keep nuclear documents?" "It is time to review the 2019 House Oversight Committee's stunning allegations of nuclear corruption," between the Trump administration and "Saudi/Qatar."

That committee report made a number of accusations against the Trump administration, including that it tried "to rush the transfer of highly sensitive U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia." This was without congressional review and in potential violation of the Atomic Energy Act that restricts the export of U.S. nuclear technology.

The report also raised questions about the relationship between the White House and Riyadh following the murder of Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which was met with "equivocation by President Trump and other top Administration officials."

The report said that in the U.S. "strong private commercial interests have been pressing aggressively for the transfer of highly sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia," and this posed a "potential risk to U.S. national security absent adequate safeguards."

"These commercial entities stand to reap billions of dollars through contracts associated with constructing and operating nuclear facilities in Saudi Arabia," it added.

However, in July 2019, the Republican staff of the House Oversight Committee rejected Democrat claims that the Trump administration committed wrongdoing in its dealings with the Middle Eastern kingdom.

Their report said the firm IP3 International, comprised of former U.S. national security officials, pushing to build nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia, had kept Congress in the loop. Also, the Trump administration was "not rushing" nuclear technology to the kingdom, nor had it "skirted requirements for congressional notification."

"The evidence currently before the committee does not show impropriety in the proposed transfer of nuclear energy technology to Saudi Arabia," the Republicans said.

Meanwhile, Trump's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, has called the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago "outrageous", telling Fox News that no such documents containing nuclear information were "disseminated freely" at the resort.

Christina Bobb, an attorney for the former president, told Fox News that while she had not "specifically spoken to the president about what nuclear materials may or may not have been in there. I do not believe there were any in there."

Newsweek has contacted the Trump team for comment.