FBI agents were looking for secret documents about nuclear weapons among other classified material when they searched former US president Donald Trump’s Florida home on Monday, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.
The newspaper cited people familiar with the investigation as saying that nuclear weapons documents were thought to be in the trove the FBI was hunting in Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
They did not specify what kind of documents, or whether they referred to the US arsenal or another country’s.
The report came hours after US Attorney General Merrick Garland said he had personally authorized the US government request for a search warrant and revealed that the US Department of Justice had asked a Florida court for the warrant to be unsealed.
Trump, who first revealed the search at his resort on social media, late on Thursday called for the release of the warrant, saying: “Not only will I not oppose the release of documents ... I am going a step further by encouraging the immediate release of those documents.”
The search was “unAmerican, unwarranted and unnecessary,” he wrote on his Truth Social platform.
The justice department motion referred to “the public’s clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred in its contents.”
Garland’s announcement followed a furious backlash to the search from Trump supporters who portrayed it as politically motivated.
On Thursday, a man who tried to breach an FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio, was shot and killed by police after he fled the scene.
The court told the government to present its motion to Trump’s lawyers and to report back by 3pm yesterday on whether Trump objected to the warrant being unsealed.
The suspected presence of nuclear weapons documents at Mar-a-Lago could explain why Garland took such a politically charged step as ordering FBI agents into a former president’s house, as retrieving them would be seen as a national security priority.
Trump was particularly fixated on the US nuclear arsenal while he was in the White House and boasted about being privy to highly secret information.
In 2017, he told US military leaders that he wanted an arsenal comparable to its Cold War peak, which would have involved a 10-fold increase, a demand that reportedly led then-US secretary of state Rex Tillerson to describe Trump as a “fucking moron.”
Trump publicly threatened to obliterate North Korea and Afghanistan.
In a book on the Trump presidency titled Rage, veteran journalist Bob Woodward quoted the former president as telling him: “We have stuff that you haven’t even seen or heard about.
“We have stuff that Putin and Xi have never heard about before. There’s nobody. What we have is incredible,” Trump told Woodward, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).
Woodward said he was later told the US did indeed have an unspecified new weapons system, and officials were “surprised” that Trump had disclosed the fact.
Cheryl Rofer, a chemist who worked on nuclear weapons at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, said there were varying classification levels applying to different kinds of documentation.
“Information about the design of nuclear weapons is called ‘restricted data’ and is born classified. That means it is assumed to be classified unless declassified,” Rofer, who writes a blog titled Nuclear Diner, wrote on Twitter.
“There’s no reason for a president to have nuclear weapons design information that I can see,” she added.
Among the nuclear documents that Trump would routinely have had access to would be the classified version of the Nuclear Posture Review, which is about US capabilities and policies.
A military aide is always close to the president carrying the “nuclear football,” a briefcase containing nuclear strike options, but it would be unusual for those documents to be taken out of the football.
Another possibility Rofer pointed to is that Trump could have retained his nuclear “biscuit,” a piece of plastic similar to a credit card with the identification codes necessary for nuclear launch.
However, those codes would have been changed the moment US President Joe Biden took office at noon on Jan. 20 last year.
Additional reporting by AP
‘DEVOTED GUARDIANS’: A Chinese foreign affairs official said his nation’s diplomats would not ‘sit and do nothing while our country’s interests are being harmed’ China yesterday signaled no letup in its combative approach to foreign policy in a third term for Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) as leader despite criticism from many Western diplomats that the so-called “wolf warrior” stance has been counterproductive. As relations with the West have soured over issues from trade and human rights to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese diplomats have often been confrontational on the public stage, including on social media, a stridency that some critics see as intended for a domestic audience that nonetheless hurts its foreign ties. “We Chinese will not capitulate. We will not sit and do nothing while
AT WASHINGTON SUMMIT: The agreement between the US and 14 Pacific nations came half a year after the Solomon Islands struck a security deal with China The Solomon Islands has joined 13 other Pacific nations in signing a wide-reaching US-led partnership agreement, after early indications it would refuse. The 10-point US-Pacific Partnership deal was announced by the White House on Thursday evening, following the first-ever meeting between a US president and the leaders of every major Pacific nation. It includes commitments for increased action on climate change, economic development and security cooperation. Earlier, US President Joe Biden committed more than US$810 million to a new Pacific initiative. “A great deal of the history of our world is going to be written in the Indo-Pacific over the coming years
LANDING INCIDENT: A plane with 63 passengers was shot at by ‘terrorists’ from an ethnic minority militia, state news reported, although militants denied responsibility Myanmar’s military government accused rebel forces in the eastern state of Kayah of firing at a passenger plane as it was preparing to land on Friday, wounding a passenger who was hit by a bullet that penetrated the fuselage. Rebel groups denied the allegation. Myanmar state television MRTV said the Myanmar National Airlines plane, carrying 63 passengers, was hit as it was about to land in Loikaw, the capital of the eastern state of Kayah, also known as Karenni. It cited junta spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun as saying the shooting was carried out by “terrorists” belonging to the Karenni National
FAMILY OUTING: The president, his wife and two sons went to Singapore on a military plane to watch an F1 race as the Philippines grapples with the aftermath of a typhoon A trip by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr to Singapore over the weekend to watch Formula One races has come under attack from critics who described it as “utterly callous” while thousands of Filipinos remain displaced due to a recent typhoon. Marcos Jr confirmed his trip to Singapore for the Grand Prix event in a brief statement and pictures he posted on Facebook on Monday night after a flurry of online criticism. “They say that playing golf is the best way to drum up business, but I say it’s Formula 1,” Marcos Jr said. “What a productive weekend.” He said without elaborating that