WASHINGTON — The Justice Department objected on Monday to creating public the affidavit used to justify the search of former President Donald J. Trump’s home in Florida, saying its release would “compromise future investigative steps” and “likely chill” cooperation with witnesses.
In a 13-page pleading, filed in a federal court in southern Florida in response to requests by The Latest York Times and other news organizations to make public the evidence included within the document, prosecutors suggested that the department has undertaken a broad, intensive inquiry into Mr. Trump’s handling of a few of the most secret documents of the federal government after he left office.
The prosecutors acknowledged interviewing witnesses in reference to the investigation of Mr. Trump’s retention of the fabric. Additionally they wrote that releasing the document could compromise the continuing investigation.
“Disclosure of the federal government’s affidavit at this stage would also likely chill future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance could also be sought as this investigation progresses,” prosecutors wrote. They added that releasing the affidavit could harm “other high-profile investigations” as well.
One in every of the explanations proposed by the federal government for not releasing the affidavit was to guard the identities of witnesses against death threats. On Monday, prosecutors in Pennsylvania unsealed charges against a person accused of repeatedly threatening to kill F.B.I. agents in the times after Mr. Trump’s property was searched.
The magistrate judge who signed the search warrant, Bruce E. Reinhart, will ultimately resolve whether the affidavit must be released. It’s unclear when he’ll rule on the news media’s request.
The legal — and political — aftershocks from the search were still reverberating every week after F.B.I. agents appeared on the resort while the president was at his club in Bedminster, N.J.
Mr. Trump, who has accused Attorney General Merrick B. Garland of conducting a politically motivated “witch hunt” and roughly rifling through his family’s possessions, claimed on Monday that the federal government “stole my three Passports,” in a post on Truth Social, the net platform he founded.
By late Monday, the Justice Department admitted the error and contacted Mr. Trump’s legal team to retrieve the three passports — two of them expired and the third an lively diplomatic passport, in keeping with one among the previous president’s lawyers, Evan Corcoran, and a spokesman for the department.
In an announcement late Monday, the F.B.I. said that it “follows search and seizure procedures ordered by courts, then returns items that don’t should be retained for law enforcement purposes.”
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Mr. Garland agreed last week to release the warrant used to look Mr. Trump’s private club, but has resisted attempts to make public the underlying affidavit, a much more sensitive document that ought to contain, amongst other things, the explanations prosecutors consider there was probable cause that evidence of against the law could possibly be found at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s estate in Palm Beach, Fla.
The investigation into the mishandling of presidency documents, while known for months, was not considered to be as significant because the department’s sprawling investigation into the attack on the Capitol, which has been moving closer to Mr. Trump and his top advisers.
Federal agents removed top secret documents after they searched Mr. Trump’s residence last week as a part of an investigation into possible violations of the Espionage Act and other laws, in keeping with a search warrant made public on Friday.
At the least one lawyer for Mr. Trump signed a written statement in June asserting that every one material marked as classified and held in boxes in a storage area at Mar-a-Lago had been returned to the federal government, 4 individuals with knowledge of the document said.
Whilst the previous president counterattacked, recent details emerged of how Mr. Trump and his inner circle flouted the norms, and possibly the laws, governing their handling of presidency records.
In keeping with two individuals with knowledge of the situation, Mr. Trump and his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, the person who oversaw presidential records within the chaotic closing days of the administration, failed to prepare an effort to gather, box and deliver materials to the National Archives — as prior presidents, and Mr. Trump’s own vice chairman, Mike Pence, did.
As an alternative, they often focused on settling political grievances and private grudges, they said.
Within the weeks leading as much as Mr. Trump’s departure from the White House, officials discussed what to do about material that he had at various points taken as much as the residence and that needed to be properly stored and returned.
By then, the staff secretary, Derek Lyons, known for attempting to keep systems in place, had left the administration. Mr. Meadows said he would address such issues, in keeping with a senior administration official.
While all this was happening, a really different scenario was playing out just across West Executive Avenue, in Mr. Pence’s less frenetic office.
As Mr. Trump sought to carry on to power, two of Mr. Pence’s senior aides — Marc Short, his chief of staff, and Greg Jacob, his counsel — indexed and boxed all of his government papers, in keeping with three former officials with knowledge of the work.
Mr. Jacob spent the majority of his final few days in government preparing the ultimate boxes, with the goal of ensuring that Mr. Pence left office with out a single paper that didn’t belong to him, one among the officials said.