Now that we know that the reason the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Donald Trump’s home and presidential office in Mar-a-Lago is unlikely to have been related to so-called “nuclear secrets,” there is still widespread speculation about the FBI’s historic intrusion into the former president’s estate.
The “nuclear secrets” that Trump possessed were unrelated to the U.S.’ own capabilities, it turns out; rather, they were nuclear secrets about Iran and China, according to the Washington Post. However, it was readily conceded that the FBI agents were looking for other documents, but they declined to share the details of those documents to the Post (which has essentially become an intelligence community mouthpiece at this point).
While the official cover story is that the National Archives — the glorified librarians for government documents — demanded the former president returned “classified” documents he had in his possession since his time in office, the lack of proportionality in the FBI’s enforcement of the NARA order has raised questions about the sensitivity of said documents in Trump’s possession.
This raises a critical question: What was the FBI really looking for?
Now comes a CNN report, published today, that is highly suggestive of the FBI’s draconian vigilance in its unprecedented invasion of a former’s president’s residence.
The relevant passages follow below:
A binder containing highly classified information related to Russian election interference went missing at the end of Donald Trump’s presidency, raising alarms among intelligence officials that some of the most closely guarded national security secrets from the US and its allies could be exposed, sources familiar with the matter told CNN.
Its disappearance, which has not been previously reported, was so concerning that intelligence officials briefed Senate Intelligence Committee leaders last year about the missing materials and the government’s efforts to retrieve them, the sources said.
In the two-plus years since Trump left office, the missing intelligence does not appear to have been found.
The binder contained raw intelligence the US and its NATO allies collected on Russians and Russian agents, including sources and methods that informed the US government’s assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to help Trump win the 2016 election, sources tell CNN.
The intelligence was so sensitive that lawmakers and congressional aides with top secret security clearances were able to review the material only at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, where their work scrutinizing it was itself kept in a locked safe.
Thus, you see the resurrection of the dashed narrative that Donald Trump has somehow colluded with the Russians. It once again smacks of a desperate effort to vindicate the failed accusation and redeem the credibility of these so-called journalists, who, wittingly or unwittingly, oftentimes function as intelligence community assets.
However, the real reason this binder would be so interesting to the Biden IC slips out in a subsequence passage.
The binder was last seen at the White House during Trump’s final days in office. The former president . Under the care of then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, the binder was scoured by Republican aides working to .
The Russian intelligence was just a small part of the collection of documents in the binder, described as being But the raw intelligence on Russia was among its most sensitive classified materials, and top Trump administration officials repeatedly tried to block the former president from releasing the documents.
The day before leaving office, Trump issued an order declassifying most of the binder’s contents, setting off a flurry of activity in the final 48 hours of his presidency. Multiple copies of the redacted binder were created inside the White House, with plans to distribute them across Washington to Republicans in Congress and right-wing journalists.
Instead, copies initially sent out were frantically retrieved at the direction of White House lawyers demanding additional redactions.
Tucked into the following paragraphs in the story is a matter that would be a true cause for alarm in the FBI and CIA: The binder was reportedly not recovered in its FBI raid.
Just minutes before Joe Biden was inaugurated, Meadows rushed to the Justice Department to hand-deliver a redacted copy for a last review. Years later, the Justice Department has yet to release all of the documents, despite Trump’s declassification order. Additional copies with varying levels of redactions ended up at the National Archives.
But an unredacted version of the binder containing the classified raw intelligence went missing amid the chaotic final hours of the Trump White House. The circumstances surrounding its disappearance remain shrouded in mystery.
US officials repeatedly declined to discuss any government efforts to locate the binder or confirm that any intelligence was missing.
, according to a US official familiar with the matter, who said the FBI was not looking specifically for intelligence related to Russia when it obtained a search warrant for the former president’s residence last year.
There’s also no reference to the binder or the missing Russian intelligence in the June indictment of Trump over the mishandling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.
CNN thus provides ready cover for the U.S. government’s official narrative with a gullible repetition based on a single source with no skepticism displayed whatsoever (such as whether or not “nuclear secrets” about Iran and China would be a sufficient motivating cause for an FBI raid on a former president’s estate).
It then provides a platform to a notorious liar who made unsubstantiated and incredible claims about former President Donald Trump, before those claims were quietly retracted from the Congressional record. That would be Cassidy Hutchinson, who has a “theory” about what happened to the “Crossfire Hurricane binder.”
“I am almost positive it went home with Mr. Meadows,” Hutchinson told the January 6 committee in closed-door testimony, according to the transcripts.
Meadows’ lawyer, on the other hand, firmly rejects that he mishandled any classified material in the White House, calling any notion that Meadows was responsible for sensitive information going missing “flat wrong.”
“Mr. Meadows was keenly aware of and adhered to requirements for the proper handling of classified material, any such material that he handled or was in his possession has been treated accordingly and any suggestion that he is responsible for any missing binder or other classified information is flat wrong,” Meadows attorney George Terwilliger said in a statement to CNN. “Anyone and any entity suggesting that he is responsible for anything missing does not have facts and should exercise great care before making false allegations.”
In the years following Trump’s resignation, his supporters have been pursuing the redacted binder in order to make it public, suing the Justice Department and the National Archives earlier this year. And, as they prepare to defend Trump against accusations coming from efforts to overturn the 2020 election, his attorneys are now requesting access to the confidential intelligence from the 2016 election assessment.
This story of the secret binder’s path to the White House, how its trail went cold after Trump left office, and the remaining issues it raises is further explored at length in the piece, which is, of course, its own kind of evidence that the deep state is highly concerned about the binder’s whereabouts.
One particular passage is worth highlighting, since it recounts how the Crossfire Hurricane binder almost made it into the light of day.
On January 19, 2021, Trump issued a declassification order for a “binder of materials related to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”
The White House had planned to distribute the declassified documents around Washington, including to Trump-allied conservative journalist John Solomon. But Trump’s order did not lead to its release – and earlier this year Solomon sued the Justice Department and National Archives for access to the documents.
His court filings provide colorful details of the last-minute scramble.
Solomon claims that on the night of January 19, Meadows invited him to the White House to review several hundred pages of the declassified binder. One of Solomon’s staffers was even allowed to leave the White House with the declassified records in a paper bag.
“Mr. Solomon’s staff began setting up a scanning operation for the complete set of documents to be released the next morning,” Solomon’s attorneys wrote in a court filing last month, CNN notes. “But as they set up the equipment, they received a call from the White House asking that the documents — still under embargo — be returned because the White House wished to make some additional redactions to unclassified information under the Privacy Act.”
On the morning of January 20, Meadows reportedly “rushed to the Justice Department to turn over a copy of the binder Trump ordered declassified for a final review.”
“I am returning the bulk of the binder of declassified documents to the Department of Justice (including all that appear to have a potential to raise privacy concerns) with the instruction that the Department must expeditiously conduct a Privacy Act review under the standards that the Department of Justice would normally apply, redact material appropriately, and release the remaining material with redactions applied,” Meadows wrote in the memo for the DOJ’s review.
The White House then sought to reclassify much of the binder’s contents.
Solomon’s lawyers allege that Meadows “promised Mr. Solomon that he would receive the revised binder. However, this never occurred.”
John Solomon gave CNN some critical details about the actual status of the Crossfire Hurricane binder’s contents. His retelling is that the FBI only released a “a small part of the binder’s contents with substantial additional redactions,” contrary to the official narrative that much of its contents are known to the public.
In February and March, the FBI released under the Freedom of Information Act several hundred pages of heavily redacted internal records from its Russia investigation, following lawsuits from conservative groups seeking documents from the probe.
The Justice Department said in a June filing seeking to dismiss Solomon’s lawsuit that the FBI’s document release had fulfilled Meadows’ request for a Privacy Act review, noting that it had “resulted in the posting of most of the binder” on the FBI’s FOIA website.
Solomon responded claiming the documents that the FBI released were only “a small part of the binder’s contents with substantial additional redactions.”
CNN’s curious report about the Crossfire Hurricane binder is highly suggestive of a hidden motivation behind the FBI’s raid of Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago. When the federal government hides the truth from America’s citizens, it becomes incumbent upon us to not only dig for answers, but to also read between the lines.