US Department of Justice opposes revelation of evidence supporting search of Trump’s home

WASHINGTON, Aug 15 (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department said on Monday it opposes the disclosure of the affidavit used by prosecutors to obtain permission from a federal judge to search the home of the former President Donald Trump in Florida, where they seized classified documents.

“If released, the affidavit would serve as a road map for the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, in a way that is highly likely to jeopardize future stages of investigation,” prosecutors wrote in their filing.

Trump’s Republican allies in recent days have stepped up calls for Attorney General Merrick Garland to unseal the document, which would reveal the evidence prosecutors have shown to show they had probable cause to believe crimes were committed in the Trump’s home – the standard they had to meet to get the search warrant. Read more

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On Friday, at the request of the Justice Department, a South Florida federal court unsealed the search warrant and several accompanying legal documents that showed FBI agents took 11 sets of classified documents from the resort. from Trump to Mar-a-Lago.

Some of the documents seized were labeled as “top secret” – the highest level of classification reserved for the most closely held US national security information. Read more

These documents are usually kept in special government facilities because their disclosure could harm national security.

The Justice Department on Monday cited that as another reason to keep the affidavit sealed, saying the investigation involves “highly classified material.”

The agency said it would not oppose the release of other sealed documents related to the raid, such as the blankets and the government’s motion to seal.

The warrant issued on Friday showed the Justice Department was investigating violations of three laws, including a provision in the Espionage Act that prohibits possession of national defense information and another law that criminalizes knowingly destroying, concealing or falsifying records with intent to obstruct an investigation.

Trump has since claimed, without evidence, that he has a standing order to declassify all materials recovered from his home.

Garland’s decision to unseal the warrant was highly unusual, given the Justice Department’s policy of not commenting on ongoing investigations.

On the same day Garland announced his decision to seek to unseal the warrant, a gunman with right-wing views attempted to break into an FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was later shot dead by police following a car chase. Read more

Prosecutors on Monday cited recent violence and growing threats against the FBI as another reason for not releasing the affidavit.

“Witness information is particularly sensitive given the high-profile nature of this case and the risk that revealing the identity of witnesses will impact their willingness to cooperate with the investigation,” they wrote.

Also on Monday, the Justice Department said a Pennsylvania man was arrested for making threats on the Gab social media service against FBI agents. Adam Bies, 46, was taken into custody Friday in connection with the social media posts, the DOJ said.

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Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Stephen Coates

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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