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Justice Department is resisting release of affidavit behind Trump crackdown

#Justice #Department #resisting #release #affidavit #Trump #crackdown

The US Department of Justice on Monday denied requests to unseal the affidavit justifying the FBI search of Donald Trump’s Florida home last week.

Several US media outlets and Republican congressmen have asked a Florida judge to release the affidavit behind the crackdown that ignited a political firestorm in an already bitterly divided country.

The Justice Department noted in a filing in a US district court that the search warrant and a receipt for items seized during the raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home have already been released.

But it argued that the affidavit setting out the FBI’s argument as to why the search warrant should be approved made “very different considerations.”

“There remain compelling reasons, including protecting the integrity of an ongoing law enforcement investigation that has national security implications, for keeping the affidavit confidential,” the department said.

The government has “a compelling, overriding interest in preserving the integrity of an ongoing criminal investigation,” it said.

The affidavit, she added, contained “crucial and detailed investigative facts” as well as “highly sensitive information about witnesses, including witnesses interviewed by the government.”

The Justice Department said should the court order the affidavit released, the redactions required would be “so extensive that the remaining unsealed text becomes devoid of meaningful content.”

Among the records seized during an unprecedented search of a former president’s home were documents marked “top secret,” “secret,” and “confidential.”

Trump, who is considering another attack on the White House in 2024, vehemently condemned the FBI raid, claiming that all material seized during the raid had previously been “declassified.”

The warrant to search Trump’s home, personally authorized by Attorney General Merrick Garland, directed the FBI to seize records that were “illegally possessed,” in violation of three criminal statutes, including one that falls under the Espionage Act, which it makes it a crime to obtain it illegally or hold national security information.

Trump claimed Monday that FBI agents confiscated his passports during the operation.

“Wow! During the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago, they stole my three passports (one of them expired) along with everything else,” Trump said in a post on his Truth Social platform. “This is an attack on a political opponent on a level that our country has never seen before. Third World!”

In addition to investigations into his business practices, Trump faces legal scrutiny over his efforts to overturn the results of the November 2020 election and his supporters’ January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol.

Trump was impeached for a second historic time by the House of Representatives after the Capitol riot – he was accused of inciting a riot – but was acquitted by the Senate.

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#Justice #Department #resisting #release #affidavit #Trump #crackdown

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