Former President Donald Trump demanded the release of the “completely unredacted” search warrant affidavit used to justify last week’s FBI raid on his home, but the Justice Department is arguing in court to keep it sealed.
Court documents show DOJ lawyers trying to keep the affidavit under seal, citing an ongoing investigation.
“If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap to the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, in a manner that is highly likely to compromise future investigative steps,” they wrote.
The department lawyers did not object to releasing the warrant and property receipt, which were unsealed last week.
Those items revealed agents were looking for materials related to three criminal statutes, one of which reportedly involved the Espionage Act.
But the affidavit itself is another matter, with DOJ lawyers arguing “there remain compelling reasons” to keep it sealed “including to protect the integrity of an ongoing law enforcement investigation that implicates national security.”
Besides, they note, the affidavit would likely be redacted so heavily that it “would not serve any public interest.”
Trump responded on his Truth Social media platform by demanding the release of the affidavit.
“There is no way to justify the unannounced RAID of Mar-a-Lago … by a very large number of gun-toting FBI Agents, and the Department of ‘Justice,'” he wrote.
“But, in the interest of TRANSPARENCY, I call for the immediate release of the completely Unredacted Affidavit pertaining to this horrible and shocking BREAK-IN,” Trump continued.
The former President also demanded the federal judge who had approved the warrant should recuse himself from the matter.
That judge, Bruce Reinhart, had recused himself from another case involving a lawsuit by the former President against Hillary Clinton.
In that matter, Reinhart had cited a United States Code which reveals: “Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”
There should be no reason for Reinhart not to remove himself from this matter either.
The Justice Department has indicated they would not block the release of any other documents related to the FBI raid on Trump’s home, including the warrant’s cover sheets.
But doing so without the underlying affidavit would allow administration officials to leak all kinds of accusations without fear of having to back them up.
We’ve already seen examples of that with allegations pertaining to nuclear weapons.
And it underscores the absolute disaster they’ve engaged in with regard to public perception. Trump publicly calls for “transparency” and the release of the affidavit, but the DOJ does not, leading the public to continue wondering what they are hiding.
If they wanted this matter to remain under wraps, they’ve gone about it incorrectly every step of the way. Keeping the affidavit sealed will only fuel speculation of a partisan, weaponized Department of Justice.
At this point, the public is getting more factual information from the former President than they are from the media.
Following the raid, Trump publicly accused the FBI of having “stole(n) my three Passports.”
The media attempted to portray that as a lie.
Playing semantics with the phrasing, the DOJ DID have Trump’s passports according to one official, but they were returned.
Trump attorney Christina Bobb accused FBI agents of taking materials not allowed by the warrant, the passports being one such example.
“I think it goes to show how aggressive they were, how overreaching they were, that they were willing to go past the four corners of the warrant and take whatever they felt was appropriate or they felt that they could take,” she said.
Numerous Trump supporters and pundits have surmised the FBI raid may have been more of a fishing expedition to retrieve items associated with the Jan. 6 capitol riot.
Perhaps they could clear up some of the confusion with a release of the affidavit.
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