So one starts to wonder just what happened to these 88 highly sensitive documents? Did they get sold on the open black market? Did they end up in some Russians hands?

U.S. federal agents on Thursday simultaneously searched properties in Manhattan, a posh Hamptons beach community, and an exclusive Miami island, all of which have been linked to billionaire Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, whose $120 million yacht was seized in April.

This breaking news wasn’t given much exposure but is very curious on why the FBI just suddenly out of the blue raided Vekselberg’s properties. What were they looking for? Why did this raid happen?

FBI agents and Homeland Security Investigations personnel searched the properties, linked to Viktor Vekselberg, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. There was no immediate response to a request for comment sent to lawyers who have represented Vekselberg.

Vekselberg was not only a close ally of Vladimir Putin, he was also a close friend of Donald Trump through Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney. Did Trump sell these documents to Putin using Vekselberg as a conduit? Inquiring minds wish to know. Some people say that these documents that are missing fell right into Putin’s hands, and some people say that the Saudis were also involved and paid 2 billion dollars for them using Jared Kushner as a go between.

It’s tempting to see this as hard evidence that finally connects Trump to Putin: Vekselberg has some ties to the Kremlin and in theory could have been funneling money from Vladimir Putin to Donald Trump via Cohen.

Whatever happened to them is a subject for intense debate.

Story below:

As you read the more detailed inventory unsealed by Judge Aileen Cannon, keep in mind that Trump is under investigation not just for unlawful retention of classified documents, but also under both 18 USC 2071 and 18 USC 1519, for concealing documents and (under just 2071) for removing them.

And one of the most notable details about the inventory (aside from the fact that the Roger Stone pardon is classified Secret) is the number of empty folders:

  • Item 2: The leatherbound box, containing news clippings dated 1/2017 to 10/2018
    • 43 empty folders with CLASSIFIED banners
    • 28 empty folders labeled Return to Staff Secretary/Military Aide
  • Item 15: Box A-28, containing news clippings dated 10/2016 to 11/2018
    • 2 empty folders labeled Return to Staff Secretary/Military Aide
  • Item 18: Box A-35, containing news clippings dated 1/2018 to 12/2019
    • 2 empty folders labeled Return to Staff Secretary/Military Aide
  • Item 23: Box A-39, containing clippings dated 11/2016 to 6/2018
    • 8 empty folders labeled Return to Staff Secretary/Military Aide
  • Item 25: Box A-41, containing clippings dated 10/2016 to 11/2017
    • 1 empty folder with CLASSIFIED banners
  • Item 33: Box A-33 (includes potentially privileged documents), containing clippings dated 2/2017 to 2/2018
    • 2 empty folders with CLASSIFIED banners
    • 2 empty folders labeled Return to Staff Secretary/Military Aide

All told, then, there are 46 empty CLASSIFIED document folders and 42 empty “Return to Staff Secretary/Military Aide” folders. Each of those is a highly sensitive — and now potentially missing — document.

Update: Here’s my initial pass at the inventory (I need to proof the numbers; I’m missing one Secret document). An important point: Every one of the boxes seized had at least 2 government in it. Altogether, the FBI seized over 11,000 documents without classification markings.

Source: https://www.emptywheel.net/2022/09/02/return-to-sender-doj-seized-evidence-that-88-documents-highly-sensitive-may-have-disappeared/

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