Federal prosecutors investigating former President Donald Trump asked a judge Monday never to unseal an integral document linked to the FBI’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, saying it includes “highly sensitive information” which could compromise the national security probe.
The government’s request came three days following the federal judge made public the search warrant along with other materials that outlined some key information on the raid on the former president’s Palm Beach, Florida, resort home.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said the other day he personally approved the warrant, and he supported its disclosure in light of the “substantial public fascination with this matter.”
However the Department of Justice on Monday pushed back on calls release a the affidavit supporting the search warrant, saying it “presents an extremely different group of considerations.”
“There remain compelling reasons, including to safeguard the integrity of a continuing police investigation that implicates national security, that support keeping the affidavit sealed, the federal prosecutors wrote in a filing in U.S. District Court in Florida.
The affidavit contains “critically important and detailed investigative facts,” they argued in the filing, that was signed by Jay Bratt, head of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Portion of the DOJ’s National Security Division.
Those facts include “highly sensitive information regarding witnesses, including witnesses interviewed by the federal government; specific investigative techniques; and information required for legal reasons to be kept under seal” relative to the federal rules, the prosecutors wrote.
“If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap to the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific information regarding its direction and likely course, in a fashion that is highly more likely to compromise future investigative steps,” the filing said.
“Furthermore, information regarding witnesses is specially sensitive given the high-profile nature of the matter and the chance that the revelation of witness identities would impact their willingness to cooperate with the investigation,” the prosecutors wrote.
In addition they said they considered whether release a a heavily-redacted version of the affidavit, but figured “the redactions essential to mitigate harms to the integrity of the investigation will be so extensive concerning render the rest of the unsealed text without meaningful content.”
The search warrant and property receipt, unsealed Friday, shed much light on the search of Trump’s home, while at exactly the same time raising more questions concerning the federal investigation in to the former president.
The documents showed the FBI seized 20 boxes of items along with other materials, including multiple sets of documents marked ” inside info ” and classified. The warrant indicates that the agents were searching for materials linked to three criminal statutes, among which was area of the Espionage Act.
Among the statutes, which pertains to removing or destroying government records, carries a punishment to be “disqualified from holding any office beneath the USA,” based on thetextof regulations. None of the three statutes Title 18 of america Code, Sections793,1519and2071 hinge on if the documents involved were classified.
Earlier Monday, Trump wrote on his social media marketing platform that the FBI had taken three of his passports including one which was expired through the raid.