Former President Donald Trump on Friday denied a report from The Washington Post that said FBI agents were looking for classified documents related to nuclear weapons, among other items, when they searched his Mar-a-Lago home earlier this week.
On his Truth Social platform, Trump said that “Nuclear weapons is a hoax, just like Russia, Russia, Russia was a hoax,” referring to then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Trump attacked the officials involved with the search of his home, calling them “sleazy.”
NBC News has not independently verified the Post’s report, published Thursday.
Details of documents sought by the FBI, such as whether the nuclear weapons in question were tied to the United States or another country, were not immediately clear. Nor was it known if the agency found the documents it was seeking.
The explosive report came just hours after Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday that he “personally approved” a decision to seek a search warrant for Trump’s Florida home Monday and that the Department of Justice had filed a motion to make the warrant public.
The agency has also asked to make public the property receipt detailing what agents found inside the Trump property, Garland said.
The Justice Department’s motion does not seek to make public the affidavit of probable cause, which includes the FBI’s justification for searching Mar-a-Lago.
Trump this year had to return 15 boxes of documents that the National Archives and Records Administration said were improperly taken from the White House.
But months later, and before the FBI conducted its search, Trump received a federal grand jury subpoena for sensitive documents the government believed he retained after his departure from the White House, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to NBC News.
A separate source confirmed an earlier Wall Street Journal report by telling NBC News that “someone familiar” with documents inside Mar-a-Lago told investigators there may have been more classified documents at the club than were initially turned over, leading in part to the search Monday.
Garland on Thursday suggested that Trump had not turned over all of the material sought by the Justice Department.
Citing “two sources briefed on the classified documents” sought in the subpoena, The New York Times reported Thursday that federal officials were prompted to search Mar-a-Lago because uncollected material was particularly sensitive to national security.
According to an order U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart issued Thursday, Justice Department officials will meet with Trump’s lawyers and determine whether he intends to fight the disclosure of the warrant and the property receipt, but he said Thursday night that he would be “encouraging” their release.
“Not only will I not oppose the release of documents related to the unAmerican, unwarranted, and unnecessary raid and break-in of my home in Palm Beach, Florida, Mar-a-Lago, I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents,” Trump said.
The Justice Department must file a notice by 3 p.m. ET Friday to formally inform the judge of the Trump team’s intentions.