WASHINGTON: The Justice Department announced on Friday that it has probable cause to believe that former US president Donald Trump violated the Espionage Act. Agents who searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida in the week removed 11 collections of classified material, including some that were marked as top secret.
The shocking revelations were presented in court filings that were made public four days after FBI investigators searched Trump’s home using a warrant that had been authorised by a federal magistrate judge.
In its application for a warrant, the Justice Department informed judge Bruce Reinhart that it had “probable cause” to think that Trump had broken the Espionage Act, a federal statute that outlaws the possession or dissemination of material related to national defence.
The highest classification, “top secret,” is kept for the nation’s most tightly guarded national security material. Because its exposure may have a significant negative impact on national security, information is frequently held in specialised government facilities.
The Espionage Act and another legislation that forbids the unlawful removal and preservation of secret papers or material are only two of the many federal statutes that prohibit the improper handling of classified information. While he was in office, Trump doubled the penalty for it, turning it into a punishable offense by up to five years in jail.