In posts on his social media platform and in Saturday speeches in Georgia and North Carolina, Trump made numerous false or misleading claims about his handling of classified documents, the FBI’s conduct in the related investigation, the Presidential Records Act, his dealings with the federal government prior to the search of his Mar-a-Lago club and residence, and President Joe Biden’s own handling of documents.
Here is a fact check of 10 of the indictment-related claims Trump has made since the 37 federal charges against him were unsealed on Friday.
A toppled box at Mar-a-Lago
In his speech in Georgia on Saturday, Trump mentioned a photo that was included in the indictment. The photo, which was taken at Mar-a-Lago, shows a toppled box from which papers had spilled out onto the floor.
Trump said: “I looked – it looked so orderly and nice. Somehow somebody turned over one of the boxes. Did you see that? I said, ‘I wonder who did that? Did the FBI do that?’”
Facts First: The suggestion that it’s even possible that the FBI might have turned over this box is nonsense. According to the indictment, the photo was taken in December 2021 by Trump aide and accused co-conspirator Walt Nauta, who the indictment says texted the photo to another Trump employee with the words “I opened the door and found this…” The FBI did not execute its search warrant at Mar-a-Lago until August 2022, eight months later, so it could not possibly have done the toppling.
The contents of the toppled box
In a Friday social media post, Trump also claimed that the photo of the toppled box did not show any “documents” at all: “The Box on the floor which was opened (who opened it?) clearly shows there was no ‘documents,’ but rather newspapers, personal pictures, etc. WITCH HUNT!” He said in the speech in Georgia: “But the box that was turned over – it had newspapers, it had pictures, it had clippings, it had all sorts of things. Nobody saw any documents there.”
Facts First: Trump’s claim that nobody saw any “documents” in the photo of the toppled box is false. While the photo does show newspapers and pictures among the materials that had spilled onto the Mar-a-Lago floor, the photo also clearly shows other unidentified papers in the pile – one of which prosecutors allege was classified and labeled with markings making clear it was releasable only to the members of an intelligence alliance composed of the US and four other countries.
The indictment says prosecutors redacted the “visible classified information” from the photo. While the indictment did not explicitly say which of the pieces of paper shown in the photo was the classified document, it is possible that it is the document with a dark rectangular bar, a common redaction method, across the top of the page.
It is theoretically possible that Trump himself did not see this document amid the mess depicted in the photo. But it’s not true that “nobody” saw any documents.