September 27, 2022

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The former US president is on trial for violating the Espionage Act

why Did the FBI conduct a raid? Home of a former president for the first time in history? Donald Trump is under investigation by the Justice Department for possible violations of the “Espionage Act,” according to documents made public Friday after they were declassified.

Despite its name, this 1917 federal law was not limited to espionage. This includes anything related to unauthorized transportation or possession of documents related to national security. Donald Trump, who is suspected of taking particularly sensitive documents, assured Truth Social that he had previously declassified them, leaving experts skeptical.

Top secret information

According to the search warrant, the FBI seized 33 boxes at Mar-a-Lago, including eleven sets of classified documents. Some classified as “secret” or “top secret” can theoretically only be kept in secure government buildings.

Documents related to the search of Donald Trump’s home were made public on August 12, 2022. – P.BERRY/20 minutes

In addition to letters and photographs, the inventory includes “ Information about the President of France “, without further details. However, these documents are not listed as classified.

Each offense is punishable by ten years in prison

The United States Penal Code lists three statutes that justify a search: 18 USC, Section 7931519 and 2071. The first, entitled “Collection, Transmission, or Loss of Security Information,” states that Donald Trump is “under investigation for violating the Espionage Act.” 20 minutes National Security Attorney Bradley Moss. The other two refer to “obstruction of justice”.

On his Truth social network, the former president promised that “everything is classified.” But in theory, there is a procedure to follow. In particular, the seal on the documents must be changed, which appears not to have been done and is subject to a battle in the courts over the president’s powers.

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For Donald Trump, the matter is more serious. Each violation of Section 793 of the Espionage Act carries a jail term of up to ten years. General Petraeus was forced to resign from the CIA after taking classified documents and sharing them with his mistress. He pleaded guilty and received a two-year suspended sentence. According to Bradley Moss, the seized documents are still classified and Donald Trump could risk “severe punishment” if he knowingly refuses to return them.