• Mick Mulvaney said the classified documents seized at Mar-a-Lago were "serious stuff."
  • However, he said it may not have been enough of an "emergency" to justify the August 8 raid.
  • Mulvaney said Trump wouldn't have taken the documents if he did not "perceive it to be in his own interest."

Former chief of staff to President Donald Trump Mick Mulvaney said Friday that although Trump's retrieval and storage of Sensitive Compartmented Information from the White House "caught his attention," it may not have justified the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago. 

On August 8, the FBI searched Trump's Palm Beach, Florida, home and seized 11 sets of classified documents, including Top Secret Sensitive Compartmentalized Information, which is considered the highest level of sensitivity a classified document can receive. 

Trump has said all the materials were declassified and that he had a "standing order" to declassify documents, but 18 former senior White House officials pushed back on this claim, including Mulvaney.

Mulvaney told CNN's Alisyn Camerota that the sensitive documents were "serious stuff" not meant to be in the former president's home, but that there would need to be an "emergency" in order to justify the use of a search warrant to retrieve the documents. 

"Well, a search warrant is really only warranted if it's an emergency, right? If the evidence is that either someone is going to see it who shouldn't, or if the evidence is going to disappear or be destroyed or be moved," Mulvaney said.

An application cover sheet for Trump's search warrant unsealed Thursday revealed the FBI is investigating if Trump violated federal laws related to the willful retention of national defense information, concealment or removal of government records, and obstruction of a federal investigation.

Mulvaney also said in the interview that Trump would not have taken the classified documents if he did not "perceive it to be in his own interest, a benefit to him," but that it may have been an oversight. 

"They have to present evidence to the court to show probable cause," Mulvaney told CNN, adding "the fact that they can fill out that affidavit tells me they think that they have something."

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