A royal secret was kept in one of Mar-a-Lago’s marble baths

Washington. Until recently, Donald Trump claimed to have won the election. But when the former US president finally had to reluctantly leave the White House in January 2021, he packed more than just personal belongings and clothes. He also had countless boxes of newspaper clippings, memos, photographs and official documents collected during his tenure that moved to his private home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. Special Counsel Jack Smith’s 49-page indictment, released on Friday, paints a grim picture of the dictatorship’s incredibly careless handling of state secrets, some of them highly sensitive.

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According to findings by the state attorney’s office, the boxes contained, among other things, Secret Service documents. The documents describe the defense capabilities of the United States and other countries, details of the United States’ nuclear program, and the military vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies in the event of a possible attack. Yet, according to the indictment, the documents were more or less freely accessed between January 2021 and April 2022 at the private club, which has 150 employees and about 10,000 guests, and was not stored in a specially secured location.

June 9, 2023, USA, Washington: Special Counsel Jack Smith speaks to the press. The US Department of Justice has accused former President Trump of conspiring to obstruct an investigation into classified government documents. Photo: Alex Brandon/AP/dpa +++ dpa Image Radio +++

Initially, boxes simply wandered the ballroom stage. From there they were taken to the club’s business centre. When they stopped there, the staff exchanged ideas about an alternative storage facility. They were then taken to the bathroom and shower at the club. Photographs are attached to the charge sheet. They show three dozen moving cabinets next to the toilet in a bathroom with a marble floor and a crystal chandelier.

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Documents scattered on the floor

After cleaning out a storage room, 80 boxes reportedly went there in June 2021. The room was adjacent to the area where drinks and bedding were served at Trump’s parties. Boxes should be tilted once. A photo shows documents scattered on the floor.

In May 2021, according to the indictment, Trump delivered some boxes to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. There he had a meeting with a writer, attended by a publisher and two employees. The conversation was taped with Trump’s permission. According to lawyers, Trump can be heard pulling out a “top secret” document detailing the Pentagon’s plan to attack another country (which, according to US media, is Iran). According to the recording, the then president said: “This is classified information. Look!” None of those present were authorized to read the confidential papers.

Trump showed off a secret military map

In August or September of the same year, Trump reportedly met with representatives of a donor organization supporting him in Bedminster. According to the state attorney’s office, he pulled out a secret card in connection with the military operation. He is said to have expressly stated that he was not actually allowed to do so. He asked his guests not to come too close.

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The special counsel found that Trump actively obstructed officials after the National Archives discovered that scores of government documents were missing and pressured them to release them. He suggested that his attorney deny the existence of the boxes to the FBI, ordered staff to reorganize the documents, debated whether it would be better to destroy them, and wrote an affidavit falsely claiming that his attorneys had submitted all the documents. Meanwhile, he is said to have blocked his own legal representatives from looking at the boxes: “I don’t want anyone to look through these boxes. I really don’t,” he was quoted as saying.

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During the raid in August 2022, the FBI found a total of 102 secret, secret or top secret documents at Mar-a-Lago. Most slept in a storage room, and 27 documents were in Trump’s office. In the indictment, there are a total of 37 criminal charges against Trump. It is about conspiracy to obstruct justice and illegal possession of highly sensitive information.

Investigators have included an overview of possible punishment. The most serious offenses carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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