The correspondence represents the Biden administration’s first known engagement with Congress on the issue of the ongoing investigation into the former president’s entrapment. Court documents unsealed in recent days revealed that the Justice Department was investigating potential violations of the Presidential Records Act, Espionage Act and Obstruction of Justice.
Haines’ response also came the same day a federal judge unsealed a redacted version of the affidavit outlining the Justice Department’s rationale for obtaining a search warrant for Mar-a-Lago, which was executed earlier this month. The affidavit revealed that prosecutors believed Trump held a series of top secret documents at his private residence, including those from human source intelligence and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act interceptions.
“I am pleased that Director Haines has confirmed that the Intelligence Community and the Department of Justice are assessing the damage caused by the improper storage of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago,” Schiff said in a statement to POLITICO. “The DOJ affidavit, partially unsealed yesterday, affirms my grave concern that among the documents stored at Mar-a-Lago were those that could endanger human sources. It is essential that the IC act quickly to assess and, if necessary, mitigate the damage caused – a process that should occur alongside the DOJ’s criminal investigation.
A spokesperson for Maloney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The intelligence community’s scrutiny will likely focus on whether unauthorized individuals gained access to the highly sensitive documents. The Justice Department previously sounded the alarm over lax security of records at Trump’s estate. This question could also pertain to the criminal investigation, as Justice Department counterintelligence investigators determine whether highly classified records have been compromised in any way.
The Senate Intelligence Committee also asked the intelligence community to conduct a damage assessment of Trump’s handling of the documents, but the investigation was bipartisan. Panel chairman Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and vice chairman Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) both signed the request.
The duo also asked the Justice Department to give the committee access to specific documents seized at Mar-a-Lago. A larger group of congressional leaders asked to see the documents, too.
In a statement earlier Saturday, Rubio noted that the Justice Department has yet to respond to the committee’s letter, but made no reference to Haines.
“The Senate Intelligence Committee is still awaiting information from the Justice Department about the specific intelligence documents seized at Mar-a-Lago and what prompted an unprecedented search warrant against President Trump’s residence,” said Rubio.
Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.