DOJ Blocks Effort to Unseal the Affidavit in Trump Raid

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Attorney General Merrick Garland made a big point of saying last week that the DOJ didn’t oppose the release of the warrant which served as the basis for the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago last Monday.


But the DOJ has not been transparent about critical information, including why they made a move to raid the home of the former president when Donald Trump had been cooperating with the National Archives’ effort to recover documents. The answer to that question is in the affidavit and now the DOJ is blocking the release of the affidavit.

“There remain compelling reasons, including to protect the integrity of an ongoing law enforcement investigation that implicates national security, that support keeping the affidavit sealed,” DOJ lawyers declared on Monday, also indicating, however, they would be open to releasing redacted portions of other related documents. [….]

“The government has carefully considered whether the affidavit can be released subject to redactions,” the Justice Department said Monday. “The redactions necessary to mitigate harms to the integrity of the investigation would be so extensive as to render the remaining unsealed text devoid of meaningful content, and the release of such a redacted version would not serve any public interest.”

DOJ said that if the judge ordered a partial unsealing of the affidavit anyway, “the government respectfully requests an opportunity to provide the Court with proposed redactions.”


It’s in the affidavit where the DOJ lays out the probable cause that they allege exists for the judge to have issued the warrant. Where is the evidence that Trump knowingly violated the alleged statutes? Right now, what you have is the GSA sent him the documents and he was cooperating with the National Archives.

Garland wanted to make out like they were being so transparent and play the aggrieved party when he spoke last week. But they don’t think they have any obligation to explain to the American people why they did this to a former president. It’s possible there could be things in there they don’t want out for the sake of the investigation. But it’s also possible that they know once it’s released people are going to examine it with a fine tooth comb. And if it isn’t up to snuff, there’s going to be a problem. Given that there have been issues in the past with the FBI, notably FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith presenting a false statement to the FISA Court judge for a warrant against a Trump advisor, it’s a pretty reasonable concern to have.

This response doesn’t help the situation when they’re sitting on the information. This will just raise even more questions.


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