As many have suspected, the stolen classified documents Trump kept in his Mar-a-Lago pool closet contained sensitive national security information about both Iran and China.
Some of the classified documents recovered by the FBI from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and private club included highly sensitive intelligence regarding Iran and China, according to people familiar with the matter. If shared with others, the people said, such information could expose intelligence-gathering methods that the United States wants to keep hidden from the world.
At least one of the documents seized by the FBI describes Iran’s missile program, according to these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe an ongoing investigation. Other documents described highly sensitive intelligence work aimed at China, they said.
Unauthorized disclosures of specific information in the documents would pose multiple risks, experts say. People aiding U.S. intelligence efforts could be endangered, and collection methods could be compromised. In addition, other countries or U.S. adversaries could retaliate against the United States for actions it has taken in secret.
The classified documents about Iran and China are considered among the most sensitive the FBI has recovered to date in its investigation of Trump and his aides for possible mishandling of classified information, obstruction and destruction of government records, the people said. The criminal probe is unfolding even as the Justice Department and a district attorney in Georgia investigate alleged efforts by Trump and others to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, and as a House select committee has subpoenaed the former president seeking documents and testimony related to those allegations.
Trump has denied wrongdoing in having the documents at Mar-a-Lago, claiming in a recent television interview that he declassified any documents in his possession, and that a president can declassify information “even by thinking about it.” National security lawyers have derided those claims.
A spokesman for the former president did not respond to requests for comment Friday morning. But after this article published online, Trump posted on social media, decrying what he called leaks “on the Document Hoax” and suggesting that the FBI and the National Archives and Records Administration were trying to frame him.
“Who could ever trust corrupt, weaponized agencies, and that includes NARA,” Trump wrote. “ … Also who knows what NARA and the FBI plant into documents, or subtract from documents — we will never know, will we?”