The Justice Department on Friday revealed a heavily redacted copy of the affidavit used to acquire a search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s home Mar-a-Lago.
The FBI had probable cause to consider that records containing classified national defense information could be found on the Palm Beach, Florida, residence, in response to an agent who wrote the 32-page affidavit.
“There may be also probable cause to consider that evidence of obstruction might be found” at Trump’s home, read an unredacted portion of the affidavit.
A federal judge had ordered the important thing document’s release over the objections of the DOJ, which argued it incorporates highly sensitive facts concerning the ongoing criminal investigation into Trump. U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart accepted the DOJ’s proposed redactions to the affidavit sooner or later before it was made public.
“The federal government is conducting a criminal investigation regarding the improper removal and storage of classified information in unauthorized spaces, in addition to the illegal concealment and removal of presidency records,” the FBI agent, whose name was blacked out, wrote within the affidavit’s first line.
The agent then wrote that the probe began due to a referral from the National Archives and Records Administration in February, after NARA received 15 boxes of records from Trump’s residence in Florida. By law, presidential records should be turned over to the National Archives when a president departs office.
The FBI found that in those boxes were documents that bore classification markings, and included records regarding national defense information, which had been stored at Mar-a-Lago in an unsecured location.
The 15 boxes included 184 specific documents marked classified, 67 of which were marked “confidential,” 92 marked “secret” and 25 documents marked “top secret,” in response to the affidavit.
“Based upon this investigation, I don’t consider that any spaces throughout the PREMISES have been authorized for the storage of classified information no less than because the end of FPOTUS ‘s Presidential Administration on January 20, 2021,” the agent wrote within the affidavit.
Of the 32 pages of the affidavit, 21 pages are almost totally or significantly blacked out.
The search warrant itself was revealed voluntarily by the DOJ lower than every week after the Aug. 8 raid. The warrant indicated that FBI agents were on the lookout for materials showing violations of laws against obstruction of justice and the removal of official records, in addition to the U.S. Espionage Act.
The FBI took no less than 20 boxes of things within the August raid, including quite a few sets of highly classified documents, in response to a property receipt that was also made public by the DOJ.
In a social media post after the redacted affidavit was released, Trump accused the FBI and DOJ of “public relations subterfuge” by the proven fact that the word “Nuclear” didn’t appear within the document — though he also noted that it was “heavily redacted!!!” The affidavit didn’t detail the particular content of documents it expected to seek out.
Trump also lashed out at Reinhart, arguing that he must have recused himself from this matter because he had previously removed himself from one other case involving the previous president. The explanation for that recusal was not clear, news outlets reported, but Trump claimed it was “based on his animosity and hatred of your favorite President, me.”
The federal government argued last week against releasing the affidavit, even in a redacted form.
“The redactions needed to mitigate harms to the integrity of the investigation could be so extensive as to render the remaining unsealed text devoid of meaningful content,” read a court filing from Jay Bratt, head of the counterintelligence and export control section of the DOJ’s National Security Division.
Bratt also argued that the affidavit “would function a roadmap to the federal government’s ongoing investigation” if disclosed.
Reinhart disagreed, and ordered the federal government to propose redactions to U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach, Florida, by Thursday. The judge accepted the DOJ’s redactions later that day.
The federal government said last week that the Mar-a-Lago raid is an element of a probe that “implicates national security” and remains to be in its “early stages.”
Read more of CNBC’s politics coverage:
Trump, who first revealed the FBI’s search of his Florida residence, has solid himself because the victim of a political attack by the Biden administration that was carried out against the presumptive Republican front-runner within the 2024 presidential race.
The previous president on Monday sued the federal government, asking a federal judge to dam the DOJ from poring over the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago until a court-appointed third party reviews them.
“The political Hacks and Thugs had no right under the Presidential Records Act to storm Mar-a-Lago and steal every thing in sight, including Passports and privileged documents,” Trump said in a social media post earlier Friday morning.