Nuclear Weapons Documents Among Items Sought From Trump in FBI Raid: Report

FBI agents who descended upon Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate were searching for classified documents concerning nuclear weapons that the former president was suspected of improperly removing from the White House.

Reporting from The Washington Post Thursday shed light on why federal law enforcement took the extraordinary step of raiding the residence of a former president. The search carried out earlier this week has set off a political firestorm. The Post's report, which relied on unnamed sources, points to worries government officials had about documents potentially being stored in Trump's residence.

Trump on Monday posted a lengthy statement to his Truth Social platform announcing the raid at his home in Florida, characterizing it as the latest in a pattern of politically motivated targeting by federal law enforcement.

View of Mar-a-Lago
The Washington Post reports that FBI agents were searching for documents concerning nuclear weapons at former President Donald Trump's residence. Above, a helicopter flies near Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, on August 9, 2022. Giorgio VIERA/Getty Images

Shortly afterward, reports emerged that the FBI had been searching for documents sought by the National Archives that Trump had allegedly taken home in violation of federal record-keeping laws.

Sources who spoke to the Post said the search highlights the urgency government officials felt in preventing the highly sensitive documents from falling into the wrong hands. Sources did not provide details to the paper, such as what information was in the documents and if FBI agents found them.

Two senior government officials told Newsweek earlier this week that agents were seeking classified "national defense information." They also said the raid was timed while Trump would be out of town to minimize political blowback.

Trump's statement on the search took an especially dire tone, saying it was unnecessary after his lawyers had been cooperating with relevant government agencies.

"It is prosecutorial misconduct, the weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don't want me to run for President in 2024," Trump said in the statement.

Conservative political and media figures aligned with Trump swiftly closed ranks, calling the raid politically motivated and more befitting of a "banana republic" or "third-world country." House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy promised hearings targeting U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland should Republicans retake the chamber this fall.

The report came the same day Garland announced that Justice Department lawyers had asked a federal judge to release the search warrant used to inspect Trump's home.

"The department filed the motion to make public the warrant and receipt in light of the former president's public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances and the substantial public interest in this matter," Garland said.

Trump has not shared his copy of the FBI warrant. His attorneys can challenge the Justice Department's motion to unseal the record.

Newsweek has reached out to Trump for comment.

Update 8/11/22, 9:30 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with additional background and information.