DOJ Releases Redacted Mar-a-Lago Search Affidavit

Pages from the FBI's affidavit in support of obtaining a search warrant for former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate are on view Friday.
Pages from the FBI’s affidavit in support of obtaining a search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate are on view Friday. (Jon Elswick/AP)

The redacted affidavit of the Mar-a-Lago search warrant released Friday shows federal investigators have addressed the issue of a president’s authority to release documents, even though much of that section has been redacted.

The affidavit says former President Trump’s counsel has asked the Justice Department to “consider a few ‘principles’, including the claim that the president has “absolute authority to release documents.”

The affidavit also cites a claim by Kash Patel, a former Trump national security officer who was named in June as one of Trump’s designated individuals for the National Archives. The researcher who wrote the affidavit cited a May article from the right-wing website Breitbart, in which Patel claimed reports that the National Archives had found classified material in Mar-a-Lago to be “misleading” because Trump released the material.

However, the rest of the section in the affidavit is classified, so it’s not clear why federal investigators cited Patel’s comments.

Since the FBI’s search, Trump has pointed to a Jan. 19, 2021 memo in which he released documents related to the FBI’s Russia investigation. However, there is no evidence that those materials were what the FBI was looking for when it searched Mar-a-Lago earlier this month.

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