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On Monday, federal prosecutors asked a judge to withhold a key document related to the FBI’s search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
After investigating former President Donald Trump, federal prosecutors said the document contained “highly sensitive information” that could compromise national security investigations.
The request came three days after the federal judge released the search warrant along with other documents detailing key details of the raid.
The Department of Justice refuses to publish the affidavit
Last week, Attorney General Merrick Garland said he personally endorsed the warrant and supported its disclosure of “substantial public interest in this matter.”
On Monday, however, the Justice Department denied requests for affidavits in support of the search warrant.
They explained that this “presents a very different set of considerations.”
In the U.S. District Court in Florida, federal prosecutors wrote:
“There remain compelling reasons, including to protect the integrity of an ongoing law enforcement investigation that implicates national security, that supports keeping the affidavit sealed.”
The affidavit contains “critically important and detailed investigative facts,” according to the filing signed by Jay Bratt, director of counterintelligence and export controls for the Department of National Security.
The facts include “highly sensitive information about witnesses, including witnesses interviewed by the government; specific investigative techniques; and information required by law to be kept under seal” under federal regulations as drafted by prosecutors.
“If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap to the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, in a manner that is highly likely to compromise future investigative steps,” the filing wrote.
“In addition, information about witnesses is particularly sensitive given the high-profile nature of this matter and the risk that the revelation of witness identities would impact their willingness to cooperate with the investigation,” the prosecutor added.
Prosecutors said they were considering releasing a heavily redacted version of the affidavit, but ultimately concluded that “the redactions necessary to mitigate harms to the integrity of the investigation would be so extensive as to render the remaining unsealed text devoid of meaningful content.”
The search warrant and title deed were opened on Friday, revealing more behind Trump’s search of the home.
However, it also raised more questions about the federal investigation into the former president.
According to the documents, the FBI received 20 boxes of items and other documents, including several sets of top secret and classified documents.
Under the search warrant, officers were looking for documents related to three criminal laws, including one that is part of the Espionage Act.
A law governing the removal or destruction of government documents carries the penalty of “disqualified from holding any office under the United States” under the law.
Meanwhile, none of the three statutes (US Code Title 18, Sections 793, 1519, and 2071) are based on whether or not the documents are classified.
Earlier on Monday, Trump announced on his social media platform that the FBI had seized three of his passports, including an expired one, during the raid. Relation:
The Justice Department asks the judge to keep the sworn statement of Trump’s search warrant sealed to protect national security investigations.
DOJ urges judge to keep Trump search warrant affidavit sealed to protect national security investigation