Revelation of secret Obama-era program casts doubt on stated reason for Trump Mar-a-Lago raid

FIRST ON FOX: A purportedly never-before-seen Department of Defense memo from the Obama era appears to indicate the federal government already may have had original copies of the documents seized at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida in 2022, raising serious questions about the pretext for the raid, Fox News Digital has exclusively learned.

America First Legal (AFL), a conservative legal group, released Thursday what it says is a newly unearthed memo from the Obama administration Department of Defense “confirming the government may have already had originals of the alleged classified documents involved in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s sham prosecution against President Trump.”

The document, titled Memorandum of Understanding Entered into by Presidential Information Technology Community Entities, is from 2015, and followed an October 2014 Russian breach of the Executive Office of the President’s network. Then-President Barack Obama took executive action to create the Presidential Information Technology Community (PITC) to better protect the executive branch from such attacks, according to AFL.

The PITC, which includes representatives from federal agencies such as the Department of Defense and Homeland Security, effectively established that the president controls information he receives through the PITC network.

NEW REVELATIONS IN FLORIDA DOCUMENTS TRIAL PUT TRUMP ON OFFENSE AGAINST ‘DERANGED’ SPECIAL COUNSEL

America First Legal on Thursday released what it says is a newly unearthed memo from the Obama administration. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The executive action was made public at the time. However, AFL said it obtained a never-before-seen memo confirming the Department of Defense has been “operating and maintaining the information resources and information systems provided to the President, Vice President, and Executive Office of the President.”

JUDGE UNSEALS FBI FILES IN TRUMP CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS CASE, INCLUDING DETAILED TIMELINE OF MAR-A-LAGO RAID

The memo could mean that the federal government has stored and retained Executive Office of the President documents, including “a substantial amount, if not all, of President Trump’s classified documents,” AFL said in its press release.

Former President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom during his trial at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on May 21. (Michael M. Santiago/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

“What America First Legal has uncovered after months of investigative work paints an unfortunate picture of the rule of law in Washington. A former President of the United States — the most democratically accountable officer under our Constitution — was subject to a politicized referral concocted by the Biden White House that led to an armed FBI raid of his home — where his wife and youngest child live — and is now subject to prosecution,” America First Legal Vice President Dan Epstein said.

GOP SLAMS ‘WEAPONIZATION’ OF DOJ AFTER TRUMP’S MAR-A-LAGO RAIDED BY FBI; DEMS CALL IT ‘ACCOUNTABILITY’

“And to now realize that the Biden Administration could have avoided an illegal referral process to recover records the government already possessed, that it could have used normal means to ensure that records the former president believed should be housed in his presidential library (not yet built because of the hordes of investigations aimed at silencing him) were subject to a temporary hold for purposes of Archives’ review — yet didn’t — speaks loudly to America: the law protects only those who follow the norms of one party,” Epstein added.

Trump’s classified documents case also opened the doors to investigations regarding classified documents in the possession of President Biden. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

AFL obtained the documents through litigation against the Department of Defense, the press release said.

The DOD told Fox News Digital on Thursday that the department has “nothing to offer” when asked about the memo. The White House and DOJ did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.

TRUMP’S LAWYERS PUSH FOR DISMISSAL OF CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS CASE, ARGUING ‘PRESIDENTIAL IMMUNITY’

The FBI agents seized 33 boxes of documents in August 2022 from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, spurring another legal battle that Trump has called a “scam.” The investigation is overseen by special prosecutor Jack Smith, whom Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed to the job, and has charged Trump with 40 felony counts, including allegedly violating the Espionage Act, making false statements to investigators and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

The FBI at the time told a judge there was “probable cause to believe” that classified documents at Mar-a-Lago were being improperly stored and that investigators would find “evidence of obstruction.”

FBI agents seized 33 boxes of documents in August 2022 from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and slammed the case as an “Election Inference Scam” promoted by the Biden administration and “Deranged Jack Smith.”

The memo’s disclosure on Thursday would not, by itself, absolve Trump of any potential wrongdoing in the case; however, it appears to challenge the initial justification for the raid.

The document is only the latest revelation raising questions about the government’s actions and motivations in the lead-up to the raid.

Presiding Judge Aileen Cannon recently unredacted more than 300 pages of evidence in the case, including emails and conversations related to the Biden administration’s contact with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) the year before the documents were seized from Trump’s home, Real Clear Investigations reported. Biden has publicly said he was not involved in the case, though the filings show other White House officials were involved in the early stages of the investigation.

The documents unredacted by Cannon appear to indicate that just weeks after Trump left office in 2021, the White House Office of Records Management under the Biden administration began working with NARA “on exaggerated claims related to records handling under the Presidential Records Act,” Trump’s attorney wrote in a court filing to compel discovery.

The Archives’ general counsel sent a letter to Trump’s Presidential Records Act representatives in May 2021 asking the whereabouts of “roughly two dozen boxes of original Presidential records [that] have not been transferred to NARA.” The general counsel explained that he “had several conversations” with White House Office of Records Management officials where they discussed “concerns” regarding Trump’s possession of the documents, according to Real Clear Investigations.

The Archives’ insistence that Trump turn over the records appeared to be due, at least in part, to NARA’s mission to “properly” preserve “a complete set of Presidential records,” as outlined in a Feb. 7, 2022 statement. But if the government already had access to the documents through the Obama-era program, the documents in question would ostensibly already be preserved.

The case was slated to head to trial on May 20, but has since been put on ice until Cannon sets a new date. Cannon did hold hearings this week to address the defense team’s motion for dismissal.

TRUMP FLORIDA JUDGE CANNON DENIES TRUMP DISMISSAL ON ‘UNCONSTITUTIONAL VAGUENESS’

This image, contained in the indictment against former President Donald Trump, shows boxes of records stored in a bathroom and shower in the Lake Room at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. (Justice Department via AP)

Trump’s classified documents case also opened the doors to investigations regarding classified documents in the possession of President Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence. Special Counsel Robert Hur announced in February that he would not recommend criminal charges against Biden for possessing classified materials after his vice presidency, citing that Biden is “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

SPECIAL COUNSEL JACK SMITH HITS BACK AT JUDGE FOR ‘FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED LEGAL PREMISE’ IN TRUMP DOCUMENTS CASE

Former President Donald Trump is seen in New York City following the FBI raid at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida. (Felipe Ramales/Fox News Digital)

FEDERAL JUDGE POSTPONES TRUMP’S CLASSIFIED RECORDS TRIAL WITH NO NEW DATE

“Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone from whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt. It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him — by then a former president well into his eighties — of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness,” Hur wrote in his report.

The findings sparked widespread outrage that Biden was effectively deemed too cognitively impaired to be charged with a crime but could serve as president. Trump has meanwhile slammed the disparity in charges as a reflection of a “sick and corrupt, two-tiered system of justice in our country.”

Earlier this month, the White House asserted executive privilege over audio and video recordings related to Hur’s interviews with Biden, sparking condemnation from Republicans. Biden met with Hur for about five hours last year, when he was grilled about his handling of the classified documents.

Republican House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chair James Comer, R-Ky., responded to the executive privilege by arguing there’s “a five-alarm fire at the White House.”

“Clearly President Biden and his advisers fear releasing the audio recordings of his interview because it will again reaffirm to the American people that President Biden’s mental state is in decline. The House Oversight Committee requires these recordings as part of our investigation of President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents,” Comer told Fox News Digital last week.

“The White House is asserting executive privilege over the recordings, but it has already waived privilege by releasing the transcript of the interview. Today’s Hail Mary from the White House changes nothing for our committee. The House Oversight Committee will move forward with its markup of a resolution and report recommending to the House of Representatives that Attorney General Garland be held in contempt of Congress for defying a lawful subpoena.”

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Revelation of secret Obama-era program casts doubt on stated reason for Trump Mar-a-Lago raid

FIRST ON FOX: A purportedly never-before-seen Department of Defense memo from the Obama era appears to indicate the federal government already may have had original copies of the documents seized at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida in 2022, raising serious questions about the pretext for the raid, Fox News Digital has exclusively learned.

America First Legal (AFL), a conservative legal group, released Thursday what it says is a newly unearthed memo from the Obama administration Department of Defense “confirming the government may have already had originals of the alleged classified documents involved in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s sham prosecution against President Trump.”

The document, titled Memorandum of Understanding Entered into by Presidential Information Technology Community Entities, is from 2015, and followed an October 2014 Russian breach of the Executive Office of the President’s network. Then-President Barack Obama took executive action to create the Presidential Information Technology Community (PITC) to better protect the executive branch from such attacks, according to AFL.

The PITC, which includes representatives from federal agencies such as the Department of Defense and Homeland Security, effectively established that the president controls information he receives through the PITC network.

NEW REVELATIONS IN FLORIDA DOCUMENTS TRIAL PUT TRUMP ON OFFENSE AGAINST ‘DERANGED’ SPECIAL COUNSEL

America First Legal on Thursday released what it says is a newly unearthed memo from the Obama administration. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The executive action was made public at the time. However, AFL said it obtained a never-before-seen memo confirming the Department of Defense has been “operating and maintaining the information resources and information systems provided to the President, Vice President, and Executive Office of the President.”

JUDGE UNSEALS FBI FILES IN TRUMP CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS CASE, INCLUDING DETAILED TIMELINE OF MAR-A-LAGO RAID

The memo could mean that the federal government has stored and retained Executive Office of the President documents, including “a substantial amount, if not all, of President Trump’s classified documents,” AFL said in its press release.

Former President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom during his trial at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on May 21. (Michael M. Santiago/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

“What America First Legal has uncovered after months of investigative work paints an unfortunate picture of the rule of law in Washington. A former President of the United States — the most democratically accountable officer under our Constitution — was subject to a politicized referral concocted by the Biden White House that led to an armed FBI raid of his home — where his wife and youngest child live — and is now subject to prosecution,” America First Legal Vice President Dan Epstein said.

GOP SLAMS ‘WEAPONIZATION’ OF DOJ AFTER TRUMP’S MAR-A-LAGO RAIDED BY FBI; DEMS CALL IT ‘ACCOUNTABILITY’

“And to now realize that the Biden Administration could have avoided an illegal referral process to recover records the government already possessed, that it could have used normal means to ensure that records the former president believed should be housed in his presidential library (not yet built because of the hordes of investigations aimed at silencing him) were subject to a temporary hold for purposes of Archives’ review — yet didn’t — speaks loudly to America: the law protects only those who follow the norms of one party,” Epstein added.

Trump’s classified documents case also opened the doors to investigations regarding classified documents in the possession of President Biden. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

AFL obtained the documents through litigation against the Department of Defense, the press release said.

The DOD told Fox News Digital on Thursday that the department has “nothing to offer” when asked about the memo. The White House and DOJ did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.

TRUMP’S LAWYERS PUSH FOR DISMISSAL OF CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS CASE, ARGUING ‘PRESIDENTIAL IMMUNITY’

The FBI agents seized 33 boxes of documents in August 2022 from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, spurring another legal battle that Trump has called a “scam.” The investigation is overseen by special prosecutor Jack Smith, whom Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed to the job, and has charged Trump with 40 felony counts, including allegedly violating the Espionage Act, making false statements to investigators and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

The FBI at the time told a judge there was “probable cause to believe” that classified documents at Mar-a-Lago were being improperly stored and that investigators would find “evidence of obstruction.”

FBI agents seized 33 boxes of documents in August 2022 from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and slammed the case as an “Election Inference Scam” promoted by the Biden administration and “Deranged Jack Smith.”

The memo’s disclosure on Thursday would not, by itself, absolve Trump of any potential wrongdoing in the case; however, it appears to challenge the initial justification for the raid.

The document is only the latest revelation raising questions about the government’s actions and motivations in the lead-up to the raid.

Presiding Judge Aileen Cannon recently unredacted more than 300 pages of evidence in the case, including emails and conversations related to the Biden administration’s contact with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) the year before the documents were seized from Trump’s home, Real Clear Investigations reported. Biden has publicly said he was not involved in the case, though the filings show other White House officials were involved in the early stages of the investigation.

The documents unredacted by Cannon appear to indicate that just weeks after Trump left office in 2021, the White House Office of Records Management under the Biden administration began working with NARA “on exaggerated claims related to records handling under the Presidential Records Act,” Trump’s attorney wrote in a court filing to compel discovery.

The Archives’ general counsel sent a letter to Trump’s Presidential Records Act representatives in May 2021 asking the whereabouts of “roughly two dozen boxes of original Presidential records [that] have not been transferred to NARA.” The general counsel explained that he “had several conversations” with White House Office of Records Management officials where they discussed “concerns” regarding Trump’s possession of the documents, according to Real Clear Investigations.

The Archives’ insistence that Trump turn over the records appeared to be due, at least in part, to NARA’s mission to “properly” preserve “a complete set of Presidential records,” as outlined in a Feb. 7, 2022 statement. But if the government already had access to the documents through the Obama-era program, the documents in question would ostensibly already be preserved.

The case was slated to head to trial on May 20, but has since been put on ice until Cannon sets a new date. Cannon did hold hearings this week to address the defense team’s motion for dismissal.

TRUMP FLORIDA JUDGE CANNON DENIES TRUMP DISMISSAL ON ‘UNCONSTITUTIONAL VAGUENESS’

This image, contained in the indictment against former President Donald Trump, shows boxes of records stored in a bathroom and shower in the Lake Room at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. (Justice Department via AP)

Trump’s classified documents case also opened the doors to investigations regarding classified documents in the possession of President Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence. Special Counsel Robert Hur announced in February that he would not recommend criminal charges against Biden for possessing classified materials after his vice presidency, citing that Biden is “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

SPECIAL COUNSEL JACK SMITH HITS BACK AT JUDGE FOR ‘FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED LEGAL PREMISE’ IN TRUMP DOCUMENTS CASE

Former President Donald Trump is seen in New York City following the FBI raid at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida. (Felipe Ramales/Fox News Digital)

FEDERAL JUDGE POSTPONES TRUMP’S CLASSIFIED RECORDS TRIAL WITH NO NEW DATE

“Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone from whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt. It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him — by then a former president well into his eighties — of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness,” Hur wrote in his report.

The findings sparked widespread outrage that Biden was effectively deemed too cognitively impaired to be charged with a crime but could serve as president. Trump has meanwhile slammed the disparity in charges as a reflection of a “sick and corrupt, two-tiered system of justice in our country.”

Earlier this month, the White House asserted executive privilege over audio and video recordings related to Hur’s interviews with Biden, sparking condemnation from Republicans. Biden met with Hur for about five hours last year, when he was grilled about his handling of the classified documents.

Republican House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chair James Comer, R-Ky., responded to the executive privilege by arguing there’s “a five-alarm fire at the White House.”

“Clearly President Biden and his advisers fear releasing the audio recordings of his interview because it will again reaffirm to the American people that President Biden’s mental state is in decline. The House Oversight Committee requires these recordings as part of our investigation of President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents,” Comer told Fox News Digital last week.

“The White House is asserting executive privilege over the recordings, but it has already waived privilege by releasing the transcript of the interview. Today’s Hail Mary from the White House changes nothing for our committee. The House Oversight Committee will move forward with its markup of a resolution and report recommending to the House of Representatives that Attorney General Garland be held in contempt of Congress for defying a lawful subpoena.”

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