In their new dossier advocating some continued secrecy, the Justice Department made clear the seriousness of the ongoing criminal investigation by saying it “contains top-secret materials.”
“Disclosing the government’s affidavit at this stage would likely also facilitate the future collaboration of witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses, as well as in other high-profile investigations,” the Justice Department wrote. “The fact that this research includes highly classified materials underscores the need to protect the integrity of the research and increases the potential harm if information is disclosed prematurely or inappropriately to the public.”
Media organizations, including CNN, had asked for the affidavit to be made public after last week’s search of Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida club and residence.
The Justice Department said in its file that disclosing the details of the affidavit “at this time” would cause “significant and irreparable harm to this ongoing criminal investigation”.
“The redactions necessary to limit damage to the integrity of the investigation would be so extensive that the remaining unsealed text would become devoid of meaningful content, and the release of such an edited version would not serve the public interest,” according to the Ministry of Justice.
CNN, along with The Washington Post, NBC News and Scripps, last week asked the judge to unseal all documents — including any statements about possible causes — related to the FBI search.
“Since the Nixon administration, no president has been the subject of such a dramatic and public criminal trial,” the media said on the file, adding that the media is “trying to shed light on the unprecedented actions and motivations of the federal government.” government.”
“There can be no more ‘historically significant event’ here than an FBI raid on a former president’s home for the alleged deletion of national security data after leaving office,” the outlets said.
The New York Times, CBS, the Palm Beach Post, the Miami Herald, the Tampa Bay Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press and ABC also asked the judge to unseal the affidavits.
A magistrate on Friday unsealed Mar-a-Lago’s search warrant and title deeds after lawyers for the former president’s Justice Department agreed to release them. Other parts of the search warrant, including the affidavit about probable cause, were not addressed at the time.
The search warrant identifies Espionage Act violations, obstruction of justice and criminal handling of government records as reasons for the search.
The receipt list, which shows what items agents recovered from Mar-a-Lago, shows agents removed 11 sets of classified documents — including some with the highest levels of classification — from Trump’s home.
Republican politicians have continued to demand that the Justice Department explain why they are taking the dramatic step of searching Mar-a-Lago.
After the judge unlocked the search warrant and receipt for Trump’s property last week, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in a series of tweets that “we have yet to see the affidavit,” and that “Attorney General ( Merrick) Garland should release the information about why a warrant was needed, not what was taken.”
Republican Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “releasing the affidavit would help, at least confirm that there was justification for this raid.”
Prosecutors must “prove that this wasn’t just a fishing expedition, that they had a good reason to go in and do this, that they exhausted all other resources,” Rounds said, stressing that waiting would damage the department’s integrity. harm. “And if they can’t, then we have a serious problem.”
Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the panel’s top Republican, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, sent a letter to Garland and top intelligence officials on Sunday requesting a secret briefing. about the documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.
Ohio Rep. Mike Turner, the leading Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee, reiterated that request on Sunday, telling CNN’s Brianna Keilar that “Congress says we need to show us the goods.”