After Attorney General Merrick Garland initially announced that the DOJ would be happy to make public the affidavit used to obtain a warrant to search Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate -- an unprecedented act against a former president -- Trump called his bluff and demanded that he do just that, make the affidavit public.
“There is no way to justify the unannounced RAID of Mar-a-Lago, the home of the 45th President of the United States (who got more votes, by far, than any sitting President in the history of our Country!), by a very large number of gun toting FBI Agents, and the Department of ‘Justice’ but, in the interest of TRANSPARENCY, I call for the immediate release of the completely Unredacted Affidavit pertaining to this horrible and shocking BREAK-IN. Also, the Judge on this case should recuse!” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform.
But suddenly, DOJ officials changed their minds, per Conservative Brief:
The Department of Justice has asked a judge to keep the affidavit for the search warrant on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence sealed.
News organizations have requested the affidavit but, on Monday, the Justice Department argued in a court filing to keep it sealed “to protect the integrity of an ongoing law enforcement investigation that implicates national security,” NBC News reported.
It argued that the affidavit contains “highly sensitive information about witnesses, including witnesses interviewed by the government; specific investigative techniques; and information required by law to be kept under seal.”
MORE: "The fact that this
investigation implicates highly classified materials further underscores the need to protect the integrity of the investigation" pic.twitter.com/EkgkRD6oHd
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) August 15, 2022
“Disclosure at this juncture of the affidavit supporting probable cause would…cause significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation,” U.S. Attorney Juan Gonzalez and the Justice Department’s counterintelligence and export control chief, Jay Bratt, said.
Note how they claimed that there is an "ongoing law enforcement investigation" into Trump -- which in and of itself is outrageous.
One of the 45th president's personal attorneys, Alina Habba, noted in an interview Friday with Fox News host Jesse Watters that the judge who signed off on the warrant to search Trump's house -- federal Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart -- recused himself not long ago from a law suit Trump filed against his 2016 presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, and she wants to know why the judge did not do so this time.
“They needed a little drama, so they throw this out there. They go to the judge that had recused himself in my Hillary case a month ago,” Habba said, as reported by the UK's Daily Mail.
“I would like to know why he recused himself in that case, but then he was able to sign this warrant. I want to know that,” she noted further.
Another Trump attorney, Lindsey Halligan, spoke with Fox News host Sean Hannity last week, warning that the search was really concerning since it targeted a former president.
“So I arrived around 11:00 a.m. and there were about 30-40 FBI agents that I saw, either of which were wearing suits, the rest were in cargo pants, masks, and gloves. And they basically had unfettered access to the property. They refused to talk to me. They refused to let me in. All I knew is that they were searching areas one, two, and three, which I understood to be the former president’s bedroom, his office, and a storage room. And other than that, we were not allowed to talk to them or go inside at all,” she told Hannity.
“That’s the thing. They had unfettered access to the property. They looked at God knows what in there and did god knows what in there. We have no idea. What the FBI did was an appalling display of abuse of power. All documents requested were previously handed over. President Trump and his team painstakingly reviewed every single document at Mar-a-Lago and gave the government what they requested. If they needed any other documents, they could have just asked. And the warrant was secured under seal, so they tried to get away with concealing this overreach by obtaining a warrant under seal. Nobody knew about it,” the attorney said, adding: "The government seems to be out of control. It’s plagued with manipulation, corruption, greed, and fraud."