So here's the kind of trenchant political analysis and pithy observation you've come to expect from ZVTS:
- It has already been a horrific week for Donald Trump.
- He cost the GOP another Senate seat last night with his personal pick of Herschel Walker.
- It's only Wednesday.
- Things have already gotten considerably worse for him tonight.
Former President Donald J. Trump hired people to search four properties after being directed by a federal judge to look harder for any classified material still in his possession, and they found at least two documents with classified markings inside a sealed box in one of the locations, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Mr. Trump’s search team discovered the documents at a federally run storage site in West Palm Beach, Fla., the person said, prompting his lawyers to notify the Justice Department about them.
The New York Times reported in October that Justice Department officials had told the former president’s lawyers that they believed he might have more classified materials that were not returned in response to a subpoena issued in May. The F.B.I. searched Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s private club and residence in Florida, in August for additional classified documents and other presidential records.
People close to Mr. Trump had said earlier on Wednesday that no classified material had been found during the searches, a claim that was later proved incorrect. The Washington Post first reported on the locating of the two additional documents, as well as the searches of the properties.
After the warning from the Justice Department, a debate ensued among Mr. Trump’s lawyers about whether to bring in an independent firm to conduct a search.
The discovery of the documents at the storage unit, maintained by the federal General Services Administration, came during a series of wider searches that were completed around Thanksgiving and conducted at Mr. Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J.; at Trump Tower in New York; and in a storage closet at Mar-a-Lago, according to two people familiar with the events.
Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Mr. Trump, said in a statement that the former president and “his counsel continue to be cooperative and transparent, despite the unprecedented, illegal and unwarranted attack against President Trump and his family by the weaponized Department of Justice.”
The department is investigating the former president’s handling of thousands of government documents, including more than 300 classified ones, that were taken from the White House at the end of his term and were found at Mar-a-Lago. Prosecutors are also seeking to determine whether Mr. Trump obstructed the government’s repeated efforts to retrieve the materials.
When the Justice Department warned that it believed Mr. Trump still had documents in his possession, a lawyer whom he had hired a short time earlier, Christopher M. Kise, suggested along with other lawyers working for Mr. Trump that they engage an outside firm, according to people familiar with the events.
A cadre of other Trump lawyers were resistant to the idea; among them was Boris Epshteyn, a communications adviser who has positioned himself as an in-house counsel on some of Mr. Trump’s legal entanglements. The dispute led to Mr. Kise’s standing in Mr. Trump’s circle diminishing for weeks, according to several people close to the former president.
More recently, Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of Federal District Court in Washington, who oversees grand jury investigations, directed Mr. Trump’s lawyers essentially to search more carefully for any remaining documents. Other lawyers in Mr. Trump’s circle took on the issue and hired a firm, according to one of the people familiar with the matter.