As more information has emerged in the days since FBI agents scoured the former president’s private residence, current administration officials are increasingly concerned about what Trump took and whether that information — some of which is in a basement storage in Mar-a- Lago — could potentially jeopardize the resources and methods of the US intelligence community.
“There is a deep concern,” a senior government official told CNN.
Intelligence officials have also expressed concern about what Trump might have taken, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter. Representatives of the intelligence community have held talks in recent months with the Department of Justice, congressional intelligence committees and the National Archives about potentially missing sensitive documents, the source said.
Asked Wednesday whether Biden should be briefed on the national security implications, White House chief of staff Ron Klain urged the president to keep his distance.
“One of the reasons Joe Biden was elected president is that he promised that he would not interfere as his predecessor did in Justice Department investigations and that he would not interfere politically in enforcing law enforcement. our laws by the Department of Justice,” he told CNN’s Don Citroen.
Without knowing exactly what’s in Mar-a-Lago’s material, officials have internally expressed concerns about whether it could hinder the country’s spy services by compromising the ways officials gather information. There have also been discussions about possible diplomatic repercussions, including whether the information found at Mar-a-Lago could spark tensions with allies.
The French embassy in Washington declined to say whether they had spoken to the White House about the material. The White House also declined to comment on internal concerns about the classified information brought to Mar-a-Lago.
Biden as president has previously expressed concerns about Trump’s handling of sensitive information. He took the unprecedented step early in his tenure to cut off Trump’s access to intelligence briefings, a courtesy previously bestowed upon all former presidents.
“What’s the point of giving him an intelligence briefing?” Biden said in an interview with CBS News in February 2021. “What impact does he have, other than the fact that he might slip and say something?”
Biden associates have previously questioned whether Trump could reveal classified or sensitive information he learned during his days as president in speeches or interviews, which are often given off the cuff.