The Nuclear Weapons Document Trump Stashed under Bubble Wrap and a Christmas Pillow

As noted, Jack Smith has filed his response to Trump’s bid to throw out his stolen document indictment because the order of certain boxes was not retained.

A key part of Smith’s response argues that document order within boxes hasn’t been central to any of Trump’s defenses to date, but in any case, his complaint about document order is a ruse (though Aileen Cannon likely won’t treat it as such). That’s partly because of the sheer variety of things found in boxes with classified documents, including “newspapers, thank you notes, Christmas ornaments, magazines, clothing, and photographs of himself and others,” making it far more difficult to retain document order.

And that’s partly because Trump kept moving items within boxes and boxes themselves around. The government included a Molly Michael interview, for example, where she described that some of the contents of boxes that she and Walt Nauta brought to Trump for sorting in advance of him returning 15 boxes to NARA in January 2021 got consolidated.

And pictures included as exhibits show that the spill of boxes Nauta discovered in the storage room was more extensive than previously disclosed — involving at least four boxes. Other exhibits show how the classified document exposed as part of that spill was found in the storage closet in box A-35 over a year later.

As the response and previous filings describe, that document — a Five Eyes document dated October 4, 2019 — was charged as Count 8.

A table included in the filing describes where all the charged documents were found.

So three of the charged documents were found in this box, the blue leatherbound box found next to Diet Coke bottles and some weird cult painting of Trump, in a closet off his office.

Those three documents, all classified Top Secret and at least two of which date to May 2018 (Matt Tait speculated after the search that one was a PDB pertaining to Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal), would be among the items included in this evidence picture.

This box is actually one of the only ones where the filter agent didn’t retain document order at all, so if Judge Cannon were to throw out charges because of document order (which would itself be unprecedented), it would implicate as few as three of the charges.

Side note: The narrative on this box confirms that Julie Kelly is a dumbass propagandist. It confirms that some of the documents in the box had cover sheets on them, and there were other loose cover sheets in the box.

After FBI 13 placed all of the contents of the blue box back in the box, an ERT photographer took photos of the blue box with the cover off. Ex. 12. FBI 13 alerted the Case Team that s/he had found documents marked classified, and after s/he completed his/her privilege review, two Case Team agents reviewed the box and found numerous documents with classification markings, some of which had classification cover sheets already attached, as well as loose classification cover sheets. [my emphasis]

Julie the Propagandist is nevertheless reading a different part of the filing — which described cover sheets that are not in this picture — and claiming she was right.

Seven of the documents were found among these boxes in the storage room (the box with the rectangle is where the FVEY document caught in Nauta’s December 2021 picture ended up).

And fully ten of the documents charged were found under some bubble wrap and a Christmas pillow in this box, which would have been found in the storage room, perhaps on the opposing wall to the picture above.


That means that one of the documents stashed under the bubble wrap and the Christmas pillow, charged as Count 19, was classified Formerly Restricted under the Atomic Energy Act, meaning it pertains to US nuclear weapons.

Just about the only interesting treatment of document cover sheets happens to pertain to this box, which also happens to be the one that Stan Woodward started this whole stink about.


As Smith’s filing explains, the box included 32 documents with classification markings (of which 11 were confidential), all in one binder (could this be the Crossfire Hurricane binder?!?!). Because everything in the binder was related, it was impossible to reconstruct which placeholder went with which document.

11 The initial placeholder sheets that were put in Box A-15, unlike most of the others, included only the classification level and the number of pages. Because of the large number of documents with classification markings (32) in box A-15, which were found in a binder of information and therefore similar in nature, it was not possible for the FBI to determine from the initial placeholder sheets which removed documents corresponded to which classified document. In this instance, therefore, the FBI left the initial handwritten placeholder sheets within the binder to denote the places within the binder where the documents with classification markings were found. The FBI provided this binder for scanning at the top of the box. In addition, the FBI placed in the box 32 new placeholder sheets representing the 32 documents with classification markings in the binder. It placed them where the binder was within the box when the investigative team obtained it. None of the 32 documents is charged.

But as described, none of them are charged.

To sum up, then. Of the boxes from which charged documents were found, only one — the blue leatherbound box found in Trump’s office — clearly lost document order (but partly that would derive from there being so many classified documents found). The one box where document order was a problem — the one that Stan Woodward made a stink out of — has no charged documents.

But thanks for helping us clarifying, Stan, that Trump stored his document about nuclear weapons under a Christmas pillow.


Jack Smith Response

Exhibit 1: Search warrant and affidavit

Exhibit 2: Interview report with person 81 describing how obsessive Trump was about his boxes at the White House

Exhibit 3: Additional copies of 2021 spill of four boxes

Exhibit 4: Evidence photo showing boxes stacked in storage room at beginning of search

Exhibit 5: 230322 interview with Molly Michael describing how Trump consolidated some of the boxes she and Walt Nauta brought Trump in 2021

Exhibit 6: 220817 302 documenting search of Mar-a-Lago

Exhibit 7: Interview transcript with Person 29 (Trump Organization official) describing how they turned off the CCTV server, but then had it turned back on directly at Mar-a-Lago during the search

Exhibit 8: Showing evidence picture of items 14 and 23, with classified docs pulled out

Exhibit 9: Photo log describing photos documenting search, including Trump’s office

Exhibit 10: Evidence photo of item 2

Exhibit 11: 302 from June 20, 2024 phone call with filter agent FBI 13 regarding the search of the leatherbound box

Exhibit 12: Showing how item 2 — the blue leatherbound box in Trump’s office closet with the most sensitive documents — was found next to coke bottles and a cult painting of him

Exhibit 13: Showing where classified documents were found

Exhibit 14: Documenting belated discovery of Top Secret document in box 57

Exhibit 15: Instructions for document handling for Special Master scan

Exhibit 16: Showing what random things were found in boxes 10, 19, and 28

Exhibit 17: 302 describing picking up additional classified documents from Molly Michael on August 9

Trump Motion to Dismiss

Exhibit 1: 220926 After Action Report on search, describing filter teams

Exhibit 2: Version of search warrant return

Exhibit 3: 220809 email documenting meeting with Molly Michael to collect more classified documents, which Trump misrepresented

Exhibit 4: 230605 documentation of scan process

Exhibit 5: 220928 email describing scan process, including replacement of cover sheets

Exhibit 6: 231128 memorialization of 230711 meetings with filter team to discuss search

Exhibit 7: 220806 hand-written notes memorializing planning for search

Exhibit 8: 231009 Todd Blanche discovery request

Exhibit 9: 231016 DOJ response

Exhibit 10: 240521 memorialization of May 2024 meetings between FBI and Special Counsel about search

Exhibit 11: 240324 hand-written notes of interview with privilege team

Exhibit 12: 2405?? hand-written notes of interview with privilege team

Exhibit 13: 240523 discovery letter turning over filter team materials

Exhibit 14: 240305 memorialization of item split

Exhibit 15: Notes showing Stan Woodward looking in Box A-14 (of which he took a picture), A-15, A-16, A-45, A-71, and A-73

Exhibit 16: 220830 documentation of evidence split


35 replies
    • xyxyxyxy says:

      Do you have a way to do it?
      It appears her “boss” and a senior judge tried by asking her to recuse and failed.
      If they couldn’t and Smith hasn’t been able to with all her minute orders and non-decisions.

    • Sassy Canadian says:

      I’m just a Ukrainian Canadian who has family & friends in The USA, a few voted for him twice & about to again. I never cared for Trump but care about my southern neighbours freedoms. I pay close attention to what’s happening, this write up with photos has given me more brevity than ABC News or any other outlet I read ever has Our laws & institutions differ.
      I have a question a serious question since he put her on the bench can this be classified as a conflict of interest?
      I have no business in your politics, I didn’t voice my opinion when he was in office, I started to after J6 & I advocate for you all now.
      I want nothing more than to see him tried & convicted for all his crimes, for him not in the white house to finish the job for putin and above all for my neighbours to keep their democracy!

      • xyxyxyxy says:

        Re-can this be classified as a conflict of interest?
        As DOJ has not taken action on this front, doubtful. The only way to get her off the case is for her to make an appealable ruling which Smith would take to the 11th Circuit. But thus far she’s stayed away from making any rulings.
        As far as
        having no business in politics, this isn’t Russia, China, S.A., North Korea , etc and so you can be sure you have a right to comment no matter what, subject to Moderation rules.

  1. John Paul Jones says:

    Thanks for posting all the docs. I’ve got a couple of versions of the filings in the case book-marked (from CourtListener), but all too often they only list them as purchases via Pacer. So thanks for expending not only time and effort, but also money to make these available.

    What about the possibility that Cannon will engineer a dismissal within a week of the election? Even if the decision were appealable, the damage will have been done.

  2. Alan_OrbitalMechanic says:

    I remember back when even before Trump decided to do his media stunt of running for president where Republicans treated Hillary’s e-mail as the worst security breach in the history of the nation.

    It sticks in my mind that every forum that I ever looked in on I would always see some post by a declared naval rating of the form: “I served on the USS xxxxx and if ever did ONE TENTH of what Hillary did I would be in Leavenworth now!”

    Over and over again. Where are those guys now? I don’t hear from them. I have come to suspect they either didn’t really exist or they weren’t really serious about their patriotic commitment.

    • Tim Weston says:

      I think those guys are in charge of writing the “Remember when SNL used to be funny ?” posts now.

  3. SelaSela says:

    Part of me want Aileen Cannon to dismiss the case for such reason. This would finally give Jack Smith a reason to appeal and hopefully to remove her from the case. This is probably a silly pipe dream, and counting on reversal in appeal is probably never a good thing.

  4. Bay State Librul says:

    Marcy has ink in her veins.
    She is “checking all the boxes” and dishing out all Smith’s leftovers.
    Too bad more journalists can’t follow her leads.

    • P J Evans says:

      A miracle, I think. I’m not sure that the Trinity and a couple of seraphim appearing in her office would do it, though.

    • Estragon says:

      I believe the case on point for this is U.S. v. Torkington, 874 F.2d 1441 (11th Cir. 1989)

      See section D for a discussion of removal on remand (which obviously assumes she issues another appealable ruling and is overruled again)

  5. Amateur Lawyer At Work says:

    The young Aileen will decline to grant the motion to dismiss without prejudice to be revisited at a later time (after jury seated, so Double Jeopardy attaches).
    The movement of documents within boxes and separation of Top Secret+ documents from their coversheets will be used as evidence of actual knowledge and intent if she permits a trial on the merits. On that basis, a decent attorney should be raising heck about the topic generally but only in anticipation of a motion in limine. The ridiculousness of the present situation is young Aileen having a hearing on the topic and wasting time considering the motion to dismiss.

    [Thanks for updating your username to meet the site’s standard for uniqueness. Please make sure you use the SAME EMAIL ADDRESS each time you comment; this one is not the same as the one you used on your last comment. We don’t ask for a working/valid email address, only consistency using the same one each time you comment. /~Rayne]

    • Fly by Night says:

      Assuming this case eventually advances to a trial and jury verdict I am not holding my breath on the ultimate outcome. Cannon still gets to decide his sentence.

      Even if he is found guilty on every count I predict that will be along the lines of no chocolate syrup on his ice cream (two scoops, by the way; everyone else at his dinner tables only get one).

      Federal judges can deviate from sentencing guidelines with sufficient justification. She won’t have any misgivings explaining her ice cream penalty.

      This case is important from both historical and legal precedent perspectives. I just think Trump will avoid any actual consequences with this judge. Time will tell.

      • Knox Bronson says:

        The two scoops thing reminded me of something I read about Nixon once. He would have two different wines decanted for his dinner parties. He would be drinking the really good stuff and his guests would unknowingly be drinking some far inferior vintage.
        What is it with these guys?

      • Rwood0808 says:

        There will be no “justice” as long as Cannon has the case. The goal should now be two-pronged. First her removal. Second the trial. Anything else is an exercise in futility.

        With both the 11th and her fellow South Florida judges leaking information on her I can’t help but view that as them begging Smith to file for her removal. Surely there has to be something, even if it’s as thin as her paperless rulings, that he can use to do so.

        Until he does I’m pulling back my attention to the case. I just don’t have the bandwidth to waste on something that is going nowhere.

    • Alan Charbonneau says:

      Trump’s dementia is progressing rapidly. I think that by next year, he will be incompetent to stand trial.

  6. soundgood2 says:

    I’m looking at the Sandy Hook letter with the note card behind it. It looks like the original letter that he was supposed to sign and send? I suppose he could have been given 2 copies, one to send, but he also could have just never signed and sent it.

    • Knowatall says:

      Note also, in this, and other photos, the shabby conditions of the environs (carpet, door frames, shower curtains, etc. So indicative of the shabby nature of Trump’s own mind, where he spends inordinate amounts of energy in the telling of his genius and superiority.

      • P J Evans says:

        These aren’t in public areas, so they don’t get the same level of care and furnishing. (Not that his taste is that good, but he thinks he’s an expert.)

  7. LaMissy! says:

    The jumble of documents within the boxes is a metaphor just a bit too on the nose for the mind of TFG.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      The Walker case made no reference to ‘document order’ and the ring was rolled up, convicted and sentenced to long terms anyway. That’s a direct precedent to the situation here, I think but IANAL. I agree with jdmckay8 that it’s a red herring.

  8. Terry Salad says:

    And because of Cannon’s rulings and delays (which I consider intentional), the American people will be denied the outcome of any trial on this before the election. Justice delayed and denied.

  9. jdmckay8 says:

    his complaint about document order is a ruse

    Uh huh, with major Chutzpah.

    I expected something like this would come to the fore ever since I 1st saw this filing for this dismissal. Expected, because this is just how Trump does things. Thanks for posting this stuff.

    This OpED cartoon aptly characterizes (IMHO) dynamics driving things in Eileen’s courtroom.

  10. NYsportsfanSufferer says:

    Wait, so I’m not supposed to store my nuclear documents with Christmas decorations?

    • originalK says:

      Only when you are playing anti-Santi-Claus, packaging them up to ship out as gifts. I guess his elves let him down.

      ‘Cause how they are in the boxes is a reflection of his state of mind.

  11. Operandi says:

    This sort of response has quickly become a Jack Smith special “Oh, you want to make a big stink about the order of the papers. Okay, then I’m going to take the opportunity to get really explicit on the record about the sorry state these documents were all being squirreled away in.”

  12. HuntaurD says:

    Thank you Marcie for giving us context and detail for every new nugget of info we get about this slow walk to justice. How you do it so level-headed is admirable.

    However, which do you think is likely to happen first? The next Game of Thrones book coming out or this going to trial?

  13. GlennDexter says:

    Did I just get referred to this report by Marcy via a link on The Drudge Report? Yes I did. The so-called main stream media will never catch up to emptywheel. Thank you for the work others are refusing to do.

Comments are closed.