Department Justice on Friday released an edited version of the affidavit used to obtain a search warrant authorizing the August 8 FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
The sworn statement says the Justice Department is investigating whether Trump and his team were properly authorized to move classified documents from the White House to Mar-a-Lago, noting that the FBI has identified “184 unique classified documents, including including 67 documents marked CONFIDENTIAL, 92 documents marked SECRET and 25 documents marked TOP SECRET in the collection of documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago.
The affidavit also notes that some of the documents were marked “HCS”, which indicates information related to national intelligence assets.
The affidavit confirmed, and convincingly confirmed, that Trump had stored a lot of confidential, highly classified government information in Mar-a-Lago.
Trump responded to the affidavit shortly after it was released. “Affidavit heavily edited!!!” he wrote on Truth Social. “Nothing is mentioned in Nuclear, a complete FBI and DOJ public relations ploy, or our close working relationship regarding paperwork – WE GIVE THEM A LOT.”
“WITCH-HUNT!!!” the former president added later.
The affidavit is heavily redacted, as is a Department of Justice memo explaining the criteria for redacting an affidavit. The department indicated that they sought to protect the identities of “a significant number of civilian witnesses” involved in the case.
Judge Bruce Reinhart ruled on Thursday that the DOJ would have to release the redacted written document by Friday afternoon, saying the department had “done its task” in substantiating the requested revisions in the affidavit, while affirming that there was no reason to keep the document. from the public.
The release of an affidavit for a search warrant during an active investigation is highly unusual, as is the aftermath of a search in Mar-a-Lago earlier this month. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced earlier this month that the Justice Department had filed for the release of the search warrant, citing “substantial public interest in the matter.” The warrant revealed that Trump is under federal investigation for possible violation of the Espionage Act after amassing classified documents in South Florida.
Trump claimed that, under the Presidential Records Act, he reserved the right to retain his presidency documents while preventing others from viewing them. Experts do not agree with this characterization. Ken White, a criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor, previously stated rolling stone that Trump is “essentially trying to resolve the main issue of the case, which is whether he had the right to own and keep these things, even after being asked to return them. It is very unlikely that the court will accept this invitation to challenge it.”
Trump’s storage of his presidency documents has been a concern for national archivists tasked with cataloging presidency records, as well as for the Justice Department, which is concerned about the national security implications of storing classified documents in an insecure location.
Since January, the federal government has unearthed more than 300 classified documents from Trump’s Florida residence. According to a letter sent by the Archive to Trump’s lawyers, some of the documents recovered in January were identified as “special access program materials.”
The “Special Access Program” is a classification protocol relating to highly classified material and information, which can include everything from “black projects” to information relating to presidential communications and transportation security. Access to these types of materials is extremely limited, often only to a select group of high-ranking intelligence and military officials. In addition, some of these materials may only be stored and used in secure areas. After several months of negotiations, federal investigators were allowed to review some of the documents discovered by the Archive.
On social media, former President Trump reacted with characteristic anger. Anticipating the release of an affidavit on Friday, he wrote that “political hackers and thugs had no right under the Presidential Records Act to storm Mar-a-Lago and steal everything in sight, including passports and privileged documents. They even cracked my safe with a bugbear – can you believe it?”
This was reported by sources close to the ex-president. rolling stone that Trump is desperate to return the classified documents seized earlier this month, or at least prevent investigators from gaining full access to them. Trump filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent the Justice Department and the FBI from examining the contents of the collected documents and called for the appointment of a “special master” to oversee the investigation.