A folder containing highly classified information that contributed to the United States’ determination that Russia tried to sway the 2016 presidential election in Donald Trump’s favor has been missing since the end of his presidency. CNN and Reuters news agency reported the matter based on sources familiar with the matter.
Shortly before his presidency ends in early 2021, Trump ordered the CIA to send the folder to the White House so he could “declassify” the portions for public release. Top secret information about Russia was included in the folder with other, less sensitive or less important documents.
Trump’s staff then made several copies for editing. But the original folder, approximately 25 centimeters thick, containing highly sensitive and confidential information, disappeared within hours of the transfer of power to Joe Biden and has never been resurfaced.
The material contains classified intelligence gathered by the US and NATO, raising concerns that the methods used to gather this information could fall into the wrong hands, one of the sources said.
In a January 2017 report, US intelligence wrote that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government used disinformation campaigns and cyber attacks to ‘boost Trump’s election chances’ and smear his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Russia has always denied such intervention.
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The Senate Committee explained
The disappearance of the folder is so troubling that the U.S. intelligence community briefed the Senate Intelligence Committee last year on the missing material and efforts by the current Biden administration to recover the folder.
Last year, the FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, looking for classified documents Trump carried against the rules after his presidency. Folder not found.
Trump has yet to respond to reports of the missing folder. His presidential campaign also did not respond to a request for comment on the matter.
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