A closet and a “hidden room” inside former President Donald Trump’s Florida home were reportedly not checked by the FBI in the August 2022 raid.
Sources tell ABC News that multiple witnesses were questioned about the spaces in Mar-a-Lago by special counsel Jack Smith’s team.
“As described to ABC News, the line of questioning in several interviews ahead of Trump’s indictment last year on classified document charges suggests that — long after the FBI seized dozens of boxes and more than 100 documents marked classified from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate — Smith’s team was trying to determine if there might still be more classified documents there,” the outlet reported.
“As investigators would later learn, Trump allegedly had the closet’s lock changed while his attorney was in Mar-a-Lago’s basement, searching for classified documents in a storage room that he was told would have all such documents,” ABC News added.
This alleged failure on the part of the FBI is “a bit astonishing,” according to Jordan Strauss, a former national security official in the Justice Department.
“You’re searching a former president’s house. You [should] get it right the first time,” the former federal prosecutor told ABC News.
Agents also reportedly failed to search what officials called a “hidden room” that is connected to Trump’s bedroom, the sources said.
“Smith’s investigators were later told that, in the days right after the search, some of Trump’s employees heard that the FBI had missed at least one room at Mar-a-Lago, the sources said,” ABC News reported. “According to a senior FBI official, agents focused on areas they believed might have government documents.”
“Based on information gathered throughout the course of the investigation, areas were identified and searched pursuant to the search warrant,” the official told the news outlet.
It is not clear if the former president kept any documents in the spaces that were not searched or if prosecutors and lawyers even knew about the existence of them.
According to ABC News, “In their questioning of witnesses, Smith’s team seemed to focus more on the missed spaces in the three months before first indicting Trump in the case, sources said.”
A Trump campaign spokesperson told the outlet that the investigations of the former president are”just desperate attempts at election interference … to stop the presumptive Republican nominee for President.”