Nigel Farage, Ray J and Michael Flynn, the former U.S. general who pleaded guilty to lying to investigators, normally wouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the United States’ most-sensitive secrets.
But court filings made this week by the Justice Department, and confirmed in part by Donald Trump, revealed he’d stored classified files at Mar-a-Lago, including in his office, since leaving the White House. Social media posts offer a glimpse of some of the former presidents’ visitors over the past 18 months, who gained access to the room where the FBI found top-secret government documents.
“He has guests frequently there,” Trump’s attorney Alina Habba said Thursday on Fox News.
Those guests include Farage, Ray J and Flynn as well as Republican members of Congress, local government officials, current candidates, conservative operatives and, in addition to Farage, a one-time member of the European Parliament, at least one other former foreign legislator, according to Forbes’ analysis of social-media posts.
Farage, who helped engineer Brexit, and two other guests met with Trump in his Mar-a-Lago office last April.
Trump admitted another former member of a foreign legislature into his office in November 2021 when he accepted an honorary black belt in taekwondo. The president of the governing body that bestowed the award, Lee Dong-sup, was a member of South Korea’s parliament in 2018, the Korea Times reported (Lee’s name does not appear on the assembly’s current roster).
As for U.S. lawmakers, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo). is one of at least six members of congress to visit Trump in his Mar-a-Lago office. Boebert didn’t encounter any classified information during her November 2021 visit, nor did Trump mention that any was in the vicinity, according to a spokesperson for the lawmaker. Investigators have not been in touch with Boebert regarding her visit, the spokesperson said.
Republicans Jim Banks (Ind.), Ted Budd (N.C.), Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Lance Gooden (Texas) and Greg Steube (Fla.) also shared photos from Trump’s office. As did candidates for Congress Jake Evans, Cory Mills and Vernon Jones. Their spokespeople did not respond to inquiries.
State and municipal officials also may have gotten unusually close to U.S. government secrets. Dan Cox, a state delegate in Maryland and the GOP nominee for governor, shared a photo from the office in May. He, too, told Forbes that he didn’t see any classified information during his visit and that Trump didn’t mention that any might be near by. Florida State Rep. Anthony Sabatini, Mayor Esteban Bovo Jr. of Hialeah, Florida and New York City Councilperson Inna Vernikov also visited.
In 2017, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty. Right-wing political operative Roger Stone was found guilty of seven felony counts, including of lying to Congress, in 2019. While in office, Trump pardoned Flynn and granted clemency to Stone. Out of office, both men may have been in the vicinity of classified information when they, separately, visited Trump.
Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe, former White House advisor Stephen Miller, Kyle Rittenhouse, commentator Todd Starnes and Pastor Darrell Scott (with Ray J) are among the other conservative operatives spotted in Trump’s office.
Starnes, who was at Mar-a-Lago around November 2021 to interview Trump for a book, was the only member of this group to respond to an inquiry. He told Forbes he was offered a Diet Coke but said he “cannot and will not disclose the contents of the interview or the documents the president may or may not have shown to me.”