Donald Trump maintained a “hidden room” at his Mar-a-Lago residence, which FBI agents allegedly did not search during their visit in August 2022 to retrieve classified documents, Newsweek reported on Friday, February 2.
Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team interviewed witnesses about this area, accessible through the former president’s bedroom, according to ABC News, citing unnamed sources.
The interviews occurred after the FBI’s search but before Trump’s indictment in June as part of the classified documents probe.
Trump, who has pleaded not guilty to 40 charges, stands accused of unlawfully retaining sensitive materials after leaving the White House and obstructing their retrieval.
While FBI agents searched Trump’s bedroom, they reportedly did not investigate a small concealed door behind a dresser and television, leading to a room mainly used by maintenance workers for accessing cables.
The FBI agents allegedly became aware of this hidden room only after leaving Mar-a-Lago.
Former federal prosecutor Jordan Strauss described the FBI’s incomplete search as “astonishing,” emphasizing the significance of thoroughness when searching a former president’s residence.
Similarly, former prosecutor Joyce Vance questioned why the FBI did not revisit Mar-a-Lago to search every room but suggested they may have felt confident in retrieving the classified materials they sought.
The FBI’s August 2022 search yielded over 100 classified documents, including some marked top secret.
Trump is accused of storing sensitive materials in areas accessible to the public at his Florida resort, such as bathrooms and office spaces.
Trump is scheduled to face trial in May on the charges related to the classified documents.
Newsweek reached out to the FBI, Jack Smith’s office, and Trump’s spokesperson for comment but has not received responses at the time of writing.