The Department of Justice (DoJ) told NBC News on Monday that the passports had been returned.
The FBI confirmed that they were in possession of the passports as Mr Trump took to his social media platform Truth Social to claim that they had been stolen.
“Wow! In the raid by the FBI of Mar-a-Lago, they stole my three Passports (one expired), along with everything else,” Mr Trump wrote. “This is an assault on a political opponent at a level never seen before in our Country. Third World!”
Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich tweeted a screenshot on Monday night of a partly redacted email from the DoJ National Security Division saying that the passports had been removed from the property.
“We have learned that the filter agents seized three passports belonging to President Trump, two expired and one being his active diplomatic passport,” the email said in part.
According to the screenshot tweeted by Mr Budowich, Jay Bratt, the Chief of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section at the National Security Division, said in the email sent at 10.49am on Monday 15 August that “we are returning them, and they will be ready for pickup ... at 2pm today”.
This is how Fake News works, folks. Biden admin actively feeds half truths & lies that the media willingly amplifies—advancing a partisan narrative to attack Trump.@NorahODonnell, did your “source” read you this email? Did you bother asking if they indeed seized the passports? https://t.co/DlzkagN0ie pic.twitter.com/VwCU7DPCvg
— Taylor Budowich (@TayFromCA) August 15, 2022
The FBI said in a statement on Monday night that “in executing search warrants, the FBI follows search and seizure procedures ordered by courts, then returns items that do not need to be retained for law enforcement purposes”.
Trump lawyer Christina Bobb appeared on Fox News on Monday night to slam the agency.
“I think this goes to show the level of audacity that they have,” she said. “I think it goes to show how aggressive they were, how overreaching they were, that they were willing to go past the four corners of the warrant and take whatever they felt was appropriate or they felt that they could take.”
A property receipt from the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach shows that federal agents collected 11 sets of classified documents, including top secret documents meant to only be viewed at secure government facilities. The property receipt didn’t include any mention of the passports.
Court documents reveal that investigators were searching the property in relation to possible violations of the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice, and other crimes.