From Kyle Rittenhouse to the president of World Taekwondo: Who’s been inside Trump’s Mar-a-Lago office?
Since leaving the White House, former President Donald Trump has hosted a string of admirers and associates in his personal office at Mar-a-Lago. From celebrities to dignitaries, many of his visitors have posed for photos and received mementos — and now, according to the Justice Department, it turns out at least some may also have been in close proximity to unsecured classified documents that the DOJ says should not have been in Trump’s possession.
When the FBI raided Trump’s Florida estate last month, they found more than 100 classified documents — some of which were being kept in Trump’s office, the DOJ said in a court filing on Tuesday.
“Three classified documents that were not located in boxes, but rather were located in the desks” were also seized, the DOJ said.
Among the items that were retrieved from inside Trump’s office during the August raid were seven documents with “Top Secret” classification markings, 17 documents with “Secret” markings, and 43 empty folders with “Classified” banners, according to a detailed property inventory list unsealed by the court on Friday.
Some of the documents retrieved by the FBI from a container in Trump’s office were marked “Top Secret/SCI,” according to a photo released by the DOJ, indicating documents that should only be handled under the strictest of conditions, On Running Shoes in secure-designated locations that are only accessible to individuals with the proper security clearance.
Trump, however, appeared to have no such restrictions in his office after he left the presidency.
“Anybody who knows President Trump’s office, he has guests frequently there,” Trump’s attorney Alina Habba said during an appearance on Fox News Wednesday night.
It is unclear when any of the documents retrieved on Aug. 8 were put in the office, but an ABC News review of more than a dozen social media posts appearing to capture Mar-a-Lago visits shows that guests within the last nine months include Kyle Rittenhouse, Roger Stone, and the South Korean president of a martial arts organization.
A spokesperson for Trump declined to comment when contacted by ABC News.
News of the discovery of classified materials in Trump’s office desk comes as intelligence officials say they are assessing any potential risk to national security posed by the handling of the documents in a non-secure manner.
Recent visitors to Mar-a-Lago say security protocols include being checked by Secret Service, but experts say those procedures are primarily for the purpose of eliminating threats to the former president — not for protecting documents.
Mary McCord, the former chief of the DOJ’s national security division, told ABC News after the Mar-a-Lago search warrant was made public that “we can see how significant this matter is because some of the materials are highly classified and were kept in places that appear to have not been properly secured.”
“This could mean that those materials could fall into the hands of people who are not entitled to receive them, including foreign adversaries,” McCord said.
Late last year, Trump met with Rittenhouse in his Mar-a-Lago office just days the after the Wisconsin teen was acquitted in the shooting deaths of two Skechers Canada men during the 2020 Kenosha protests, having argued that he acted in self defense.
“He called and he wanted to know if he could come over and say hello ’cause he was a fan,” Trump said in an interview on Fox News, which also showed a photo of the former president with Rittenhouse inside the office.
“He’s a really good young guy, he’s 18 years old, just left Mar-a-Lago a little while ago and he should never have been through that,” Trump said.
In March of this year, just weeks before the FBI visited the property, a photo posted on social media appeared to show Trump, in his office, hosting former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who Trump pardoned after he pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI.
The photo was posted on Twitter by Flynn’s brother, Joseph.
That same month, Stone, a longtime political adviser to Trump, posted a photo of his family in the office meeting with the former president. He has since posted photos that appear to be from that same meeting multiple times on social media.Stone was charged and convicted on a seven-count indictment of obstructing justice, witness tampering, and multiple counts of lying to Congress in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in November of 2019, before Trump pardoned Stone in the final weeks of his White House term.
Others ABC News identified in social media posts Columbia Outlet between March 2021 and March 2022 as having visited Trump’s Mar-a-Lago office include Rep. Lance Gooden; the host of a program on conservative news outlet Real America’s Voice; and Alabama Secretary of State John Merril.
Earlier, Trump held a meeting in his Mar-a-Lago office with Lee Dong Seop, the president of Kukkiwon, the World Taekwondo Headquarters in South Korea.
In the meeting, Lee presented Trump with an honorary ninth dan belt certificate in taekwondo, according to a post on Kukkiwon’s Facebook page. The post included multiple photos of Trump with Lee and his associates.
“It is my honor to receive the honorary dan certificate and I think taekwondo is a magnificent martial art for self-defense. I wish to see Kukkiwon taekwondo team’s demonstration,” Trump said, according to Kukkiwon’s Facebook post.
One photo from the post shows Trump, with Lee, appearing to autograph a taekwondo gi in front of his desk.