According to a person familiar with the contact with former President Donald Trump‘s attorneys, Justice Department officials have recently urged that they return any unreturned secret information, making it apparent that they do not believe he has done so.
Trump’s attorneys have been informed by Justice officials, notably Jay Bratt, a prominent attorney in the national security section of the Department of Justice, that he is under a continuing obligation to return the classified documents.
The communication was initially reported by the New York Times.
Since the FBI’s August 8 raid of Trump’s Florida home and resort, there have been doubts about whether all of the sensitive federal records in his possession were located.
Prosecutors expressed their worries that classified records might still be missing in multiple court files. For instance, referencing the empty envelopes with classified banners that were found during the August Mar-a-Lago raid, the Justice Department discussed the need to ascertain whether more classified records were still pending collection.
The department claimed in a court filing last month that the order would “impede efforts to identify the existence of any additional classified records that are not being properly stored – which itself presents the potential for ongoing risk to national security” after a federal judge barred investigators from using the seized materials in their criminal investigation.
The judge’s order, according to prosecutors, is keeping the FBI from conducting an investigation that “could lead to identification of other records still missing,” they said in a statement to an appeals court.
In response to the House Oversight Committee’s inquiry, the National Archives said, “With respect to the second issue concerning whether former President Trump has surrendered all presidential records, we respectfully refer you to the Department of Justice in light of its ongoing investigation.”