Donald Trump‘s legal team was in discussions with the Justice Department as recently as early June about records stored at the former president’s Mar-a-Largo home, which FBI agents searched Monday, one of his attorneys confirmed to NBC News.
Trump attorney Christina Bobb said Tuesday that the FBI removed about a dozen boxes from a basement storage area and that a search warrant left by agents indicated they were investigating possible violations of laws dealing with the handling of classified material and the Presidential Records Act.
With her account, multiple sources have now confirmed to NBC News that the unprecedented search was related to classified material.
According to Bobb, Trump’s lawyers earlier this year searched through two to three dozen boxes of material in a storage area, looking for possible presidential records, and they turned over “a few pages” that might meet the definition.
Bobb said she and Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran met later with a senior Justice Department official whose name she could not recall. Trump appeared at the beginning of the meeting, in June, and greeted investigators, Bobb said, adding that the former president was not interviewed. Federal officials then looked through boxes of material, Bobb added.
Corcoran did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Justice Department has declined to comment on the FBI search at Trump’s home.
Bobb told NBC News that the Justice Department officials said they did not believe the storage unit housing the documents was properly secured. She said that Trump officials added a lock to the facility and that FBI agents broke the lock when they searched the property Monday.
Bobb added that she did not know what prompted the Justice Department to escalate its investigation to a court-ordered search.
A source close to Trump who is familiar with the search said there are no plans to release a copy of the warrant. The source added that Trump had personally shown the Justice Department officials the room where the materials were housed during the spring meeting, which the source said took place June 3.
In a lengthy email statement issued by his Save America political committee, Trump said his home was “currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents” who “broke into my safe.”
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.
The National Archives subsequently asked the Justice Department to examine whether Trump’s handling of White House records broke federal law.
A spokesman for Trump, Taylor Budowich, blasted the FBI’s search, calling it both “brazen” and “completely unnecessary.”
“President Trump and his representatives have gone to painstaking lengths in communicating and cooperating with the appropriate agencies — something that is routine for all similar instances,” Budowich said in a statement Tuesday.