WASHINGTON: One of the classified documents seized by the FBI at former US president Donald Trump’s Florida residence descr­ibed the nuclear capabilities and military defences of a foreign power, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

The newspaper, citing unnamed sources familiar with the case, said some of the documents found in Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence were so highly classified that only the president and cabinet or near-cabinet level officials would be cleared to authorise other government officials to access them.

It did not name the country whose defence and nuclear capabilities were cited in the document.

According to the Post, such documents require special clearances on a need-to-know basis, rather than a generic top-secret clearance.

There were no details as to where in the residence, which also serves as a private members club, the highly sensitive material was found, or under what type of security.

Trump is facing mounting legal pressure, with the Department of Justice (DOJ) saying top secret documents were “likely concealed” to obstruct an FBI probe into Trump’s potential mishandling of classified materials.

When agents searched the Mar-a-Lago resort on Aug 8, they found material so sensitive that “even the FBI counter-intelligence personnel and DOJ attorneys conducting the review required additional clearances before they were permitted to review certain documents”, a government court filing said.

The FBI raid came after a review of “highly classified” records that Trump finally surrendered to authorities in January after months of back and forth with the National Archives and Records Administration.

The 15 boxes handed over by Trump were found to contain 184 documents marked as confidential, secret or top secret.

After prompting from the FBI, Trump’s lawyer eventually turned over an additional 38 classified documents — and provided “sworn certification” that they represented the last of the material.

But the FBI went on to uncover “multiple sources of evidence” showing classified documents remained at Mar-a-Lago.

Bannon faces indictment

In another report, the Post said Steve Bannon, a prominent associate of Trump, is expected to face a new criminal indictment and surrender to state prosecutors on Thursday.

Bannon’s prosecution will likely mirror aspects of a federal case in which Bannon was pardoned, the paper reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

In 2021, Trump granted clemency to Bannon as part of a wave of pardons and commutations issued in his final hours in office.

Bannon was charged with swindling the president’s supporters in con­n­e­ction with an effort to raise private funds to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. He pleaded not guilty.

The details of the new indictment could not be confirmed, the report said. A spokesperson for Bannon dismissed it as a political ploy.

“This is nothing more than a partisan political weaponisation of the criminal justice system,” the spokesperson said in an email to Reuters.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2022

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