Donald Trump's 'stolen nuclear documents' saga takes strange new turn

Amid the latest Donald Trump controversy which is threatening to sharpen the already intense political divide in the United States, Russian TV hosts have "taunted" the country over the alleged secret documents the former president is accused of stealing.

Meanwhile the Associated Press has debunked an image shared online purporting to show a fundraising email sent from the Trump team which shared nuclear codes.

"Donald is fundraising by giving us ‘nuclear codes,’" read one tweet, shared by thousands. "This is a f***ing joke to him."

However Mr Trump’s team did not send that email, a representative confirmed. An actual email with the same subject line and banner image contained different body text.

Mr Trump's Florida home was raided by the FBI earlier this week with the Washington Post reporting the raid was due to documents relating to nuclear weapons technology in the hands of the US.

Donald Trump departs Trump Tower two days after FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, in New York City, New York, U.S., August 10, 2022. REUTERS/David 'Dee' Delgado
Donald Trump could face criminal charges over the alleged document theft. Source: Reuters

The FBI recovered documents that were labeled "top secret" from his Mar-a-Lago estate, according to court papers released after a federal judge unsealed the warrant that authorised the unprecedented search.

A property receipt unsealed by the court on Friday (local time) shows FBI agents took 11 sets of classified records from Mr Trump's home.

The warrant and list of items taken were made public after he said he did not object to their release.

In Russia, hosts on flagship propaganda show 60 Minutes have mocked the situation, claiming Russian agents would have already had access to the documents, an ostensible nod to the reported links between Donald Trump and Russian officials and oligarchs.

"The FBI isn't saying what kind of weapons ... Obviously if there were any important documents, they've been studying them for a while in Moscow now," the host joked.

Trump previously boasted about new nuclear weapons technology

In renowned journalist Bob Woodward's 2020 book 'Rage', the reporter made famous by uncovering the Watergate scandal detailed how in 2019 Trump boasted to him about new nuclear weaponry the US had developed.

"I have built a nuclear — a weapons system that nobody's ever had in this country before. We have stuff that Putin and Xi have never heard about before. There's nobody — what we have is incredible," the then president reportedly said.

In the book, Mr Woodward wrote that sources confirmed the new weapons system existed, but were "surprised Trump had disclosed it."

An itemized list of property seized in the execution of a search warrant by the FBI at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, shows documents listed as
An itemized list of property seized in the execution of a search warrant by the FBI at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate. Source: Reuters

In a statement Friday (local time), Mr Trump claimed that the documents seized by agents at his Florida club were "all declassified," and argued that he would have turned over the documents to the Justice Department if asked.

While incumbent presidents have the power to declassify information, that authority lapses as soon as they leave office and it was not clear if the documents in question have ever been declassified.

Mr Trump also kept possession of the documents despite multiple requests from agencies, including the National Archives, to turn over presidential records in accordance with federal law.

In messages posted on his Truth Social platform, Mr Trump wrote, "Not only will I not oppose the release of documents ... I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents."

with AP

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