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DOJ says Trump Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit should stay sealed


Federal prosecutors investigating former President Donald Trump asked a judge Monday to not unseal a key document related to the FBI’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, saying it comprises “highly sensitive information” that would compromise the national security probe.

The federal government’s request got here three days after the federal judge made public the search warrant and other materials that outlined some key details of the raid on the previous president’s Palm Beach, Florida, resort home.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said last week that he personally approved the warrant, and that he supported its disclosure in light of the “substantial public interest on this matter.”

However the Department of Justice on Monday pushed back on calls to release the affidavit supporting the search warrant, saying it “presents a really different set of considerations.”

“There remain compelling reasons, including to guard the integrity of an ongoing law enforcement investigation that implicates national security, that support keeping the affidavit sealed, the federal prosecutors wrote in a filing in U.S. District Court in Florida.

The affidavit comprises “critically essential and detailed investigative facts,” they argued within the filing, which was signed by Jay Bratt, head of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of the DOJ’s National Security Division.

Those facts include “highly sensitive details about witnesses, including witnesses interviewed by the federal government; specific investigative techniques; and knowledge required by law to be kept under seal” in accordance with the federal rules, the prosecutors wrote.

“If disclosed, the affidavit would function a roadmap to the federal government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and certain course, in a way that is very prone to compromise future investigative steps,” the filing said.

“As well as, details about witnesses is especially sensitive given the high-profile nature of this matter and the danger that the revelation of witness identities would impact their willingness to cooperate with the investigation,” the prosecutors wrote.

Additionally they said they considered whether to release a heavily-redacted version of the affidavit, but concluded that “the redactions crucial to mitigate harms to the integrity of the investigation could be so extensive as to render the remaining unsealed text devoid of meaningful content.”

The search warrant and property receipt, unsealed Friday, shed much light on the search of Trump’s home, while at the identical time raising more questions on the federal investigation into the previous president.

The documents showed the FBI seized 20 boxes of things and other materials, including multiple sets of documents marked top secret and classified. The warrant indicates that the agents were in search of materials related to 3 criminal statutes, one in every of which was a part of the Espionage Act.

Certainly one of the statutes, which pertains to removing or destroying government records, features a punishment of being “disqualified from holding any office under america,” in line with the text of the law. Not one of the three statutes — Title 18 of america Code, Sections 7931519 and 2071 — hinge on whether the documents in query were classified.

Earlier Monday, Trump wrote on his social media platform that the FBI had taken three of his passports — including one which was expired — in the course of the raid.

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