A former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush suggested that a Secret Service agent may have been the tip in the Mar-a-Lago raid that tipped off Trump’s withholding of top-secret documents because they “have a responsibility to report about crime.’
Karl Rove, 71, suggested that a Secret Service agent exposed the former president because they are sworn “law enforcement” and had to report when they saw material that Trump’s lawyers argued was not there.
“The Secret Service — and this is my personal guess, I have no information other than the Secret Service — they don’t have legal responsibility for classified material, but they are sworn federal law enforcement, they are law enforcement. And they are obliged to report the crime,” he said Fox News.
“In particular, after one of the president’s lawyers sent a letter saying, ‘We no longer have classified material.’
He also argued that the National Archives, which handles classified material, was likely already suspicious when Trump said he had no classified documents because the Archives would be able to see which documents were accounted for and which were missing.
Karl Rove, 71, suggested that a Secret Service agent exposed Trump because they are “sworn law enforcement” and have a duty to report crime. “They have no legal responsibility for classified material….[but] they have a duty to report the crime,” he said
Rove was the deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush (pictured together). He began to be critical of Trump after the January 6 uprising
“When someone sent a letter and said we don’t have classified material, and someone in the Secret Service said, ‘I saw classified material still in the walls of Mar-a-Lago,’ and was required to report it up the chain of command . . . They would have someone who essentially said, “You’ve been misled, whether it was a deliberate lie or a lie based on ignorance, someone told you that there is no more classified material here—there is classified material.” , he told Fox News.
Rove said he doesn’t understand why Trump “would keep these materials if he doesn’t have the legal authority to do so under the Presidential Records Act.”
“The law on presidential documents is clear,” he said. “The president does not have the right to leave the White House and choose which documents he wants to take with him.
“He can ask for copies, but they are the property of the American people, and since 1978, no president has gone out to select his own documents.”
The National Archives first approached Trump about the documents in May 2021. Trump’s legal team responded that they had 12 boxes that would be removed later that year.
However, when the agency came to pick them up, they left with 15 boxes. Inside the boxes were “184 unique classified documents,” including 25 classified “Top Secret,” the affidavit said.
The Justice Department released a heavily redacted affidavit on Friday outlining the government’s justification for the August raid on Mar-a-Lago. The affidavit details the exact amount of secret or classified information that has been kept at the private club for more than a year.
Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home was searched on August 8, and authorities found 15 boxes of documents containing 184 files, 25 of which were classified as top secret.
Rove also argued that the National Archives, which handles classified material, was likely already suspicious when Trump said he didn’t have the documents. Rove said the Archives would know how many documents were accounted for and how many were missing, despite Trump’s lawyer saying they don’t have them.
The affidavit describes the classified markings that agents saw after a lengthy battle with Trump’s lawyers for access to 15 boxes of material.
“Pre-sorting” revealed that agents had seen documents marked “HCS, FISA, ORCON, NORORN, and SI.” Each acronym refers to a different type of information that the government requires to be protected in a particular way.
The affidavit also indicates that the material included “handwritten notes” by the president himself.
“President Trump has said several times that all they have to do is ask. Well, I feel like they’ve been asking for a year and a half,” Rove said on Fox.
Rove, who became critical of Trump after the Jan. 6 uprising, also said the affidavit did not reveal how many times the government asked the former president to return the documents.
“So, you know, maybe we should ask the government how many times you asked for the material back, and President Trump said several times, ‘All they had to do was ask.’
Earlier this week, Trump said he plans to file a lawsuit in response to the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago in early August, claiming his Fourth Amendment rights were violated. The Fourth Amendment provides that a search of a person’s home is lawful only if there is reasonable cause.
In a series of posts on Truth Social last week, the former president condemned the raid on his Florida home after law enforcement seized boxes of classified files he allegedly took after leaving office.
“There has never been a time in our nation’s history when law enforcement has so viciously and violently intervened in the life and times of our nation’s politics,” Trump wrote.
The president made an announcement on Truth Social, calling the raid a ‘witch hunt’
“There will soon be a serious Fourth Amendment motion filed regarding the illegal break-in of my home, Mar-a-Lago, right before a very important midterm election.
“My rights, like the rights of all Americans, have been violated on a level rarely seen in our country,” he added.
It’s Trump’s latest battle with the FBI, as former running mate Mike Pence says he hasn’t deleted any classified material since he was vice president.
Two sources familiar with the matter told CBS News’ Robert Costa that Trump’s motion will be filed in the coming days and will seek the appointment of a “special master” to review and return evidence gathered by the FBI on Aug. 8.