The Department of Justice has released the affidavit underlying the unprecedented FBI raid of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.
Judge Bruce Reinhart this week rejected the DOJ’s argument that releasing the affidavit would compromise an ongoing investigation.
More than half of the document is redacted. Eleven pages — mostly in the middle of the document — are redacted in their entirety.
In the affidavit, the government claims to have previously obtained documents from Trump marked with various identifiers of classification. These included 67 documents marked as “confidential,” 92 documents marked as “secret,” and 25 documents marked as “top secret.”
These documents were obtained through a voluntary turnover of 15 boxes from Trump in January. The former president provided the documents in response to a series of requests from the National Archives and Records Administration.
The finding of these documents eventually spurred the Mar-a-Lago raid. Federal authorities claim it justified suspicions that Trump possessed more classified documents.
Sitting presidents have broad authority to declassify federal documents. Trump has pointed to his use of a standing order allowing for the declassification of documents in his possession, potentially negating the DOJ’s claims that the documents are classified.
The DOJ is likely to argue that Trump’s declassification process was insufficient and that all declassified material needs to be identified as such.
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Trump had sought the full release of the affidavit. In a Friday Truth Social post, the former president slammed the DOJ investigation into his presidential documents.
“Affidavit heavily redacted!!!” he wrote. “Nothing mentioned on ‘Nuclear,’ a total public relations subterfuge by the FBI & DOJ, or our close working relationship regarding document turnover – WE GAVE THEM MUCH.”
DOJ leaks to The Washington Post indicated that the FBI searched for documents related to nuclear weapons at Mar-a-Lago. Nothing that’s unredacted in the affidavit references nuclear weapons, although it’s possible the redacted content contains such information.
“Judge Bruce Reinhart should NEVER have allowed the Break-In of my home. He recused himself two months ago from one of my cases based on his animosity and hatred of your favorite President, me. What changed? Why hasn’t he recused himself on this case? Obama must be very proud of him right now!”
Trump has filed a motion seeking the appointment of a special master to investigate the DOJ’s use of his seized material.