Trump under FBI investigation

After obtaining classified documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residency in August, the FBI is now investigating the former president for possession of classified information.

On Aug. 8, 2022, the FBI searched former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and found 184 classified documents Trump had retained after leaving office, according to the Washington Post. Currently under FBI investigation for the retention of government records and violation of the Espionage Act, Trump could face prison time and or lose the ability to hold office in the future if convicted.

Although the National Archives and Records Administration seized 15 boxes from Trump’s Florida residence in January 2022, the Justice Department and FBI did not view the contents until May 2022, according to Politico, at which point it was found that Trump had retained boxes with top secret, sensitive compartmented information and Special Access Program records. These records are the most secret government documents, to which very few have access, according to the New York Times. The former president’s retention of these documents may have violated the regulations in place that prevent the public from holding these types of documents.

“I think Trump crossed a line that may jeopardize national security by retaining documents,” senior Thiago Castillo said.

As a result of the May findings, the FBI requested a warrant to search the Mar-a-Lago estate as they believed Trump had committed crimes relating to the Espionage Act, which makes it illegal to hold unauthorized national security records, according to The Guardian. 

In a court filing, Trump claimed to have declassified said records while in office, stating, “ALL documents have been previously declassified.” However, the required paperwork was never provided by the White House counsel, according to The Guardian. 

“The FBI was totally justified in raiding Trump’s residence after finding out about the retention of classified documents,” senior Isabel Donner said.

In response to the FBI search, on Aug.22, Trump filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, stating that the search was unlawful and requesting an appointment of a special master, usually a retired judge or lawyer to avoid bias, to review the materials seized. Trump’s team may also draft a Rule 41 (g) motion, which would state the documents were taken unlawfully and request a return, in an attempt to regain the documents. According to the New York Times, Trump demanded that all the documents be recovered and returned to him. 

“If Trump is convicted, I assume he won’t have a 2024 presidential campaign, but if he isn’t I still don’t think his image could be saved enough,” senior Sofia Cruz said. “I feel like his time in politics is officially a thing of the past.”

Nevertheless, Trump’s potential violation of the Espionage Act and the statute for obstruction have maximum penalties of 10 years in federal prison or 20 years, respectively. In addition, if Trump is found guilty of violating the statute for destruction of records, he will be prohibited from holding future office, as stated before, greatly affecting his potential return to politics via a 2024 presidential campaign.