Feds release statement of search warrant used to break into Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home

Feds release statement of search warrant used to break into Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home

James Devaney/Getty

James Devaney/Getty

The Justice Department on Friday released an edited version of the affidavit used to substantiate the FBI’s search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property earlier this month for evidence of possible violations of the Espionage and Obstruction of Justice Act. , including the illegal withholding of confidential documents that prosecutors say should not be there.

The much-announced public disclosure follows an intense series of legal maneuvers by the former president, who said he wanted to see the testimony available for all to see, and the federal government, which wanted to keep it sealed so as not to compromise the ongoing investigation. A consortium of media organizations also pressed for disclosure of the testimony, citing public interest.

“I am not prepared to find that the affidavit must be fully sealed,” Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart – who originally signed the search warrant – said in court last week. “I believe, based on my careful initial review of the testimony many times, that there are parts that can be unsealed preemptively.”

On Thursday, Reinhart ordered the document to be opened by noon today.

Reinhart’s decision followed the submission by DOJ lawyers of drafting proposals to the deposition, which the feds said were necessary to protect investigative methods and confidential sources. In the order, Reinhart said the suggested tagging sufficiently protected both.

“I think the government has fulfilled its burden of showing a compelling reason/good cause for sealing portions of the Affidavit because disclosure would reveal (1) the identities of witnesses, law enforcement, and non-accused parties, (2) the strategy of the investigation, direction, scope, sources and methods, and (3) grand jury information protected by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e),” he wrote. “Furthermore, I think the government has fulfilled its burden of showing that its proposed wordings are strictly tailored to serve the government’s legitimate interest in the integrity of the ongoing investigation and are the least onerous alternative to sealing the entire statement.”

Trump’s coup attempt will always be a far worse crime than stealing documents

On August 12, four days after the FBI searched Trump’s club, Attorney General Merrick Garland released his own search warrant, along with a property receipt listing everything FBI agents took four days before the Trump club. Trump in Palm Beach, where he now resides. The feds seized 20 boxes from various areas within the Mar-a-Lago complex, among them 11 sets of classified documents, including one marked “Multiple Classified/TS/SCI” for “Extremely Secret/Sensitive Compartmentalized Information”.

These items can only be seen in secure government facilities, which Trump’s resort is not. The FBI also recovered folders of photos, Trump’s executive grant of clemency to convicted political agent Roger Stone and information about French President Emmanuel Macron. Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that Trump has a batch of “classified nuclear weapons-related documents,” one source said. The Washington Post.

Trump, who insists he is the victim of a political “witch hunt”, has offered escalating explanations for why he took classified material with him towards the end of his term. At first, the former president suggested that the FBI may have planted incriminating evidence in his home during the search. He then denied the Publish report on nuclear documents, and dubbed the whole thing a “hoax”.

Trump’s allies then claimed he always had a “standing order” to declassify anything and everything he removed from the White House. Trump then launched the notion that everything the FBI removed from Mar-a-Lago was protected by attorney-client privilege, complaining that the agents “stole” their passports during the search.

Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton called his former boss’s claim of a permanent declassification order “almost certainly a lie”, saying The New York Times newspaper who had never heard of such a thing while serving in the administration.

“When someone starts making up lies like that, it shows a real level of desperation,” he said.

“While Trump could have declassified anything he wanted as president, his apparent inability to produce any credible evidence that he actually did so is a genuine problem — particularly in the context of an incumbent president who clearly views documents as still confidential,” Scott Anderson, a former State Department senior legal adviser, told Roll Call.

The ongoing imbroglio between Trump and the feds follows nearly a full year of delays by the former president in returning documents, which belong to the administration. He returned about 700 pages of material in January to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), according to official correspondence released by the agency.

In April, when NARA officials became concerned that Trump was still withholding some of the requested materials, interim archivist Debra Steidel Wall told the former president’s legal team that there were “important national security interests at the FBI and others in the Commonwealth.” of Intelligence receiving access to these materials”.

At this point, Trump’s lawyers tried to buy more time, saying they would not turn anything over to the FBI until Trump has decided whether he wants to claim executive privilege over the files.

But Steidel Wall rejected the move, saying in a letter: “The issue in this case is not closed. The Executive Branch here is seeking access to records owned and held by the Federal Government itself, not only to determine whether these records have been manipulated illegally, but also, as the National Security Division explained, to ‘carry out an assessment of the potential harm resulting from the apparent manner in which these materials were stored and transported and take necessary corrective action.’”

When that didn’t work, the FBI obtained a search warrant, which culminated in a search of the former president’s home for evidence of criminal activity – an unprecedented moment in American history.

Security measures at Mar-a-Lago are notoriously lax, and foreigners have long been able to get suspiciously close to Trump with apparent ease.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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