The FBI executed a search warrant on Monday at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, as part of an investigation into the handling of presidential documents.

Judge May Keep Affidavit In Trump Mar-A-Lago Search Sealed, Siding With DOJ

The federal judge who signed off on the search warrant of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate said Monday that the facts presented to him by the FBI are “reliable” and that he may in the end decide to keep the affidavit justifying the search warrant sealed.

The federal judge who signed off on the search warrant of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate said Monday that the facts presented to him by the FBI are “reliable” and that he may in the end decide to keep the affidavit justifying the search warrant sealed.

“Having carefully reviewed the affidavit before signing the warrant, I was — and am — satisfied that the facts sworn by the affiant are reliable,” Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart wrote in a 13-page order based on a hearing in his courtroom last week.

The Government argues that unsealing the Affidavit would jeopardize the integrity of its ongoing criminal investigation.

The Government’s motion says, “As the Court is aware from its review of the affidavit, it contains, among other critically important and detailed investigative facts: highly sensitive information about witnesses, including witnesses interviewed by the government; specific investigative techniques; and information required by law to be kept under seal pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure. Protecting the integrity and secrecy of an ongoing criminal investigation is a well-recognized compelling governmental interest.”

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On Monday, Reinhart said he may decide prosecutors were correct when they argued that the necessary redactions would make what was left lacking in both content and context.

“I cannot say at this point that partial redactions will be so extensive that they will result in a meaningless disclosure, but I may ultimately reach that conclusion after hearing further from the government,” Reinhart wrote.

Releasing the entire affidavit, the judge said, would hurt the ongoing criminal investigation by revealing names of witnesses and investigative techniques, which could lead to “obstruction of justice and witness intimidation or retaliation” in the first instance and damage prosecutors’ ability to continue gathering information in the second.

According to a report last week, the FBI was reportedly seeking documents President Donald Trump believed would exonerate him from Russian collusion claims and other election-related charges when agents raided his Mar-a-Lago residence, anonymous intelligence officials told Newsweek.

The FBI collected all of the documents that were government property and used concerns about classified documents to justify the raid, but agents were looking for Trump’s personal stash containing documents related to Russian collusion accusations against him, fearing that he would “weaponize” them, Newsweek reported.

One former Trump official said he may have planned to use the documents to help in a presidential run in the coming term.

“Trump was particularly interested in matters related to the Russia hoax and the wrong-doings of the deep state,” the official told the outlet, adding that he may have intended to use the documents in a 2024 presidential campaign. “I think he felt, and I agree, that these are facts that the American people need to know.”

“The sought-after documents deal with a variety of intelligence matters of interest to the former president, the officials suggest—including material that Trump apparently thought would exonerate him of any claims of Russian collusion in 2016 or any other election-related charges.”

Initial reports of the Mar-a-Lago raid focused on a trove of classified documents Trump was reportedly storing at the Florida residence, including 42 boxes of classified documents that had been accidentally shipped there during his move from the White House, according to Newsweek. A report from the Washington Post also claimed the search was related to nuclear information in classified documents Trump possessed.

“They collected everything that rightfully belonged to the U.S. government but the true target was these documents that Trump had been collecting since early in his administration,” the source told Newsweek.

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