A Chaotic Glimpse of the Classified Documents Recovered at Mar-a-Lago

Ugly carpeting, Time magazine covers, and lots of “Top Secret” labels.

Most Americans are unfamiliar with the unique experience of hoarding classified documents. But thanks to Donald Trump’s apparent habit of doing exactly that, we now have photographic evidence of what that looks like—or at least how the former president did it at his Mar-a-Lago residence.

The Justice Department, in a late-night filing on Tuesday, included a photo of just some of the documents seized at Trump’s Palm Beach club. The image—described in the filing as a “redacted FBI photograph of certain documents and classified cover sheets recovered from a container in the “45 office”— shows several documents clearly and boldly labeled “Top Secret SCI.” Other documents appear to be obscured in order to conceal their content. To the right is a box these items were apparently stored in; it also included a framed Time magazine cover featuring Trump. All of this rests upon what this writer finds to be ugly, embarrassingly outdated carpeting. Meanwhile, Trump seems upset that the photo makes him look messy.

But beyond the photo, the most damning allegation in the DOJ’s filing is the assertion that government documents had “likely” been concealed and that federal investigators had “multiple sources of evidence” indicating that Trump aides had failed to turn over all the requested documents. The filing was a response to Trump’s latest demand to appoint an independent special master to review the seized material. The DOJ opposes that request, arguing that it would be inappropriate and significantly harmful to “important governmental interests, including national security interests.”

This is not a good look. Alas, the same Republicans who spent years screaming about some emails have registered the following shoulder shrug:

Others are using the photo to continue pushing the unhinged conspiracy theory that the FBI may have planted the documents at Mar-a-Lago. Anyway, I’ll leave you with the DOJ’s very real photo here. 

U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida

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