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Here's where FBI agents searched for classified documents at Trump's Mar-a-Lago

Sarah Blaskey, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in News & Features

Agents with the FBI had a warrant to search any rooms at Mar-a-Lago used by the club’s owner, former president Donald Trump, or his staff, according to court documents unsealed Friday afternoon.

While the layout of Trump’s home is a mystery to most, building plans and interviews by the Miami Herald have helped sketch out the likely locations where the FBI searched.

Trump’s official residence, Mar-a-Lago is a 17-acre estate on the opulent island of Palm Beach, featuring 58 bedrooms, formal dining areas, two pools, an oceanfront beach club, tennis courts, a spa and two ballrooms. Rather than a single mansion, Mar-a-Lago is broken up into a series of smaller units, connected by a tangle of walkways and staircases.

The unusual design was requested by the original owner, Marjorie Merriweather Post, who wanted “to avoid the massive appearance that would be required to incorporate all the household requirements under one roof,” according to a document produced by the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation within the National Park Service.

The club is open from November to May — the cooler months known as Palm Beach society’s high season. Those who can afford the steep price of entry enjoy access to the club’s many amenities, as well as lavish charity galas hosted each weekend.

During Monday’s raid, agents searched “a bedroom, a storage area and an office,” according to Trump attorney Lindsey Halligan. Both the bedroom, which is reportedly part of the owner’s suite, and primary storage areas are located in the club’s main cloister.

 

The office, where agents reportedly broke into a hotel-style safe, is a converted bridal suite in the Donald J. Trump Grand Ballroom, the former president’s personal addition to the property, which is protected by strict rules due to its historic landmark designation.

Trump’s private quarters are far from remote. Any member or guest strolling from the club’s main entrance to the pool area or either ballroom would walk right past the staircase leading to the Trumps’ suite. Its proximity to a main artery in the club created a headache for the Secret Service and patrons alike.

Every time the former president left his quarters to go to dinner or head to an event, Secret Service agents had to keep guests away from the area, stopping the flow of traffic between the main entrance and various ball rooms, members and staff told Miami Herald journalists.

Sometimes Trump would jump out from his suite to surprise guests on the way to the ballroom. “There was nobody around him and he just jumped in front of us like Mr. Clean and said, “Hi folks, how are you?” one member told the Herald.

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