A document that was made public on Thursday showed that an FBI agent wrote the request for a search warrant of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home, Mar-a-Lago.
The document is an application for a warrant and was requested by an FBI special agent. The document also shows that an agent, potentially the same one, wrote the affidavit, a statement that outlined to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida the causes behind the request for the warrant.
The names of the agents who signed off on the warrants are redacted, in both the case of the request and the affidavit.
The application was submitted on Aug. 5 and was approved by U.S. District Judge Bruce Reinhart the same day. The warrant was executed just three days later on Aug. 8.
Federal lawyers opposed the release of the affidavit, but said in a recent filing that they did not object to making public other documents related to the raid, including the application, as long they were able to make minor redactions “to protect government personnel.”
They argued that releasing the affidavit would harm an ongoing investigation into potential criminal conduct by Trump.
“Disclosure at this juncture of the affidavit supporting probable cause would, by contrast, cause significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation,” Justice Department counterintelligence chief Jay Bratt wrote. “If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap to the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, in a manner that is highly likely to compromise future investigative steps.”
On Friday, Reinhart ruled that the FBI would be required to produce a redacted version of the affidavit to him by Aug. 25 at noon, saying he was leaning towards releasing a redacted copy. A lawyer for media outlets calling for its release said the process of redaction will take weeks.
“I find that on the present record the Government has not met its burden of showing that the entire affidavit should remain sealed,” Reinhart said in a written order after a hearing.
Multiple documents have been filed under seal in this case. Reinhart unsealed several of these documents, including the warrant itself on Aug. 12.
Federal lawyers, as well as Trump’s counsel, were not opposed to the release of the documents, which indicated that the FBI’s Washington Field Office was running point on the raid. The warrant was justified by the belief that Trump had violated laws governing the transmittal of defense information, destruction of records and concealment of records. Trump, however, has claimed innocence and alleges he is being politically targeted.
Trump may have means for legal recourse, as the warrant that would normally indicate specific items for recovery and retrieval gave FBI agents a broad spectrum and ability to take as they pleased.
RTM previously reported that among the property to be seized, the FBI were given license to remove any documents found on the premises from Trump’s entire presidency. “Any government and/or Presidential Records created between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021” is “property to be seized,” the warrant says.
“Trump’s attorneys could have a runway to argue the scope of the search is overly broad,” Kevin Brock, a former FBI assistant director for intelligence, told Just the News. “Search warrants normally require a level of specificity that seems to be missing in this warrant. Specificity is important in order to protect 4th Amendment rights from exuberant government overreach designed to find whatever they can.”
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