(WASHINGTON) — Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the chair and vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, respectively, have sent a private letter to top intelligence officials and the Justice Department asking for more information from last week’s unprecedented FBI search at Mar-a-Lago.
The letter, sent Sunday to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines and Attorney General Merrick Garland, specifically seeks the classified documents that were seized and an analysis of any national security threat posed by the mishandling of the information.
The request comes after it was revealed that 11 sets of classified information were seized from former President Donald Trump’s Florida resort, including confidential, secret and top-secret documents.
The letter, first reported by Axios, also is seeking to get to the heart of the rationale behind the search, which Garland said he personally approved.
“The Senate Intelligence Committee is charged with overseeing counterintelligence matters, including the handling and mishandling of classified information, which appears to be at the core of the search of Mar a Lago,” said Rachel Cohen, a spokesperson for Warner who confirmed the letter and its contents but would not share it.
The letter from Warner and Rubio is the first bipartisan outreach from Congress asking for more information from the search. Other House committees have requested information on the fuel behind the search and what was found, though those appeals were spearheaded by Democrats.
Reps. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chairs of the House Oversight and Intelligence Committees, respectively, sent a letter over the weekend asking Haines to conduct a damage assessment on the classified information recovered from Mar-a-Lago.
“In his remarks, Attorney General Garland claimed there was a substantial public interest in the execution of an unprecedented search warrant on President Trump. As such, the Intelligence Committee has asked the Department of Justice to share with us, on a classified basis, the specific intelligence documents seized from Mar-a-Lago,” Rubio said through a spokesperson.
Rubio also sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting a meeting to discuss the search.
A spokesperson for DNI Haines declined to comment on both the request by Senate Intelligence Committee leaders and the separate joint request for a damage assessment made by Schiff and Maloney.
The search on Trump’s Florida residence sparked both a backlash from Republican allies over claims that the investigation is a political effort and Democratic questions over the handling of the classified information found at Mar-a-Lago, which included top-secret, sensitive compartmented information (SCI) material, a classification of materials that sometimes involves nuclear secrets.
SCI material is also intended to only be handled in secured locations.
Trump has offered an array of explanations over the search, including saying that evidence was planted, that he had declassified the documents prior to leaving the White House and that the documents obtained by the FBI were protected under attorney-client and executive privileges.
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