According to newly released court documents, the FBI told a judge that they expected to find “evidence of obstruction of justice” in a search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home.

According to investigators, top-secret files, as well as various newspapers and magazines, were stored at Mar-a-Lago.

The Justice Department stated that the affidavit was censored to protect “a significant number of civilian witnesses.”

Mr. Trump claimed that the investigation was being led by “political Hacks and Thugs.”

The US Department of Justice released a heavily redacted version of the affidavit used to justify the FBI’s raid on Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on August 8 on Friday.

The court documents don’t reveal any new information about the 11 sets of top-secret documents that the justice department has claimed were retrieved from the exclusive golf club because they were submitted before the search of the Palm Beach estate.

They had “probable cause,” according to the FBI agent who prepared the affidavit, to believe that “evidence, contraband, fruits of crimes or other items illegally possessed” would be found.

The agent continued, “There is also probable cause to believe that obstruction evidence will be found at the premises.”

According to the document, the unprecedented criminal investigation into a former president started after the National Archives, which is in charge of maintaining historical White House records, discovered “a lot” of classified documents among 15 boxes it had retrieved from Mar-a-Lago in January of this year.

In those materials, the FBI found 184 classified documents, 25 of which were labeled “Top Secret.”

Anthony Zurcher’s analysis for BBC News in Palm Beach

The justice department’s investigation into the alleged handling of classified documents and presidential records at Mar-a-Lago has seen a tiny bit of the veil of secrecy lifted.

The revealed image, even with all the redactions, ought to worry Donald Trump and his associates.

A serious criminal investigation is underway here.

It’s not just about who gets to keep some presidential mementos and trinkets; it also has to do with the security of closely held US government secrets, including those related to gathering human intelligence, spying on foreigners, and possibly even surveilling US citizens with court approval.

Since his erratic departure from the White House in January 2021, Mr. Trump has dealt with a variety of legal difficulties.

This investigation may have risen to the top of the list following the Mar-a-Lago search and these subsequent revelations.

Information from extremely private US intelligence human sources was included in the cache. Additionally, some items were labeled “Noforn,” which means they cannot be given to foreign nationals.

The affidavit states that the files were scattered among newspapers, magazines, and other documents. Some of the files appeared to contain Mr. Trump’s handwritten notes.

The document stated that it was “of most significant concern that highly classified records were unfoldered, mixed with other records, and otherwise unproperly identified.”

Investigators are now of the opinion that Mr. Trump may have broken three different federal laws, including the Espionage Act, which deals with the handling of classified information, as a result of the discovery.

The unsealed affidavit contains 38 pages, 21 of which are completely or mostly blacked out. There are several pages that are completely wordless.

In 1985, Mr. Trump purchased Mar-a-Lago.

Some portions of the affidavit must remain under seal in order to “protect the safety and privacy of civilian witnesses, in addition to law enforcement personnel, as well as to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation,” according to a separate document outlining the proposed redactions.

The document also stated that disclosing a witness’ identity could put them at risk for suffering “retaliation, intimidation or harassment and even threats to their physical safety.”

Mr. Trump responded angrily on his social media platform, Truth Social, and may run for president again in 2024.

Judge Bruce Reinhart, who approved the search, according to him, should never have permitted the “break-in of my home.” The judge, according to Mr. Trump, harbors “animosity” toward him.

He has insisted that he had already given the go-ahead to declassify all of the documents.

The investigation by the justice department is now anticipated to proceed in secret as it examines the documents and may potentially bring in more witnesses.

Prosecutors may withhold information about the investigation from the public until it has been determined whether any criminal charges will be brought as a result of it.