New details have emerged regarding a "hidden room" at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, which went unsearched by FBI agents during their investigation into classified documents in August 2022. This revelation has raised questions about the thoroughness of the search and the potential significance of the concealed area.
According to reports, Special Counsel Jack Smith's team interviewed witnesses about this hidden room, which was accessible through the former president's bedroom. These interviews occurred after FBI agents had combed through Mar-a-Lago in search of sensitive materials that had been subpoenaed.
Despite these reports, Newsweek has not independently confirmed this information and is awaiting responses from the FBI, Smith's office, and Trump's spokesperson for further clarification.
FBI Oversight Raises Questions
The FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago took place before Trump's indictment in June, related to allegations of illegal retention of sensitive and top-secret materials following his departure from the White House in January 2021, as well as obstruction of federal efforts to recover them.
While FBI agents did search Trump's bedroom during their operation, they seemingly overlooked a concealed door hidden behind a dresser and television, leading to a room primarily used by maintenance workers for cable access.
It was only after their departure that the existence of this hidden room came to light. The decision not to search the concealed room and a locked closet within the Palm Beach estate has puzzled legal experts. Jordan Strauss, a former federal prosecutor and national security official, deemed it "a bit astonishing," emphasizing the importance of a thorough search when investigating a former president's property.
However, former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance suggested that the FBI may have been confident in their initial findings, believing they had located all the classified material voluntarily. Over 100 classified documents, including some marked as top-secret, were recovered during the August 2022 search.
Notably, Trump is also accused of storing sensitive materials in areas accessible to the public at his Florida resort, such as bathrooms and office spaces. His upcoming trial in May will address these classified document charges, shedding further light on this ongoing legal saga.