Politics

DOJ reveals redacted affidavit justifying Trump Mar-a-Lago raid


Local law enforcement officers are seen in front of the home of former President Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida on August 9, 2022.

Giorgio Viera | AFP | Getty Images

The Justice Department on Friday revealed a heavily redacted copy of the affidavit used to obtain a search warrant for former President Donald Trump‘s home Mar-a-Lago.

A federal judge had ordered the key document’s release over the objections of the DOJ, which argued it contains highly sensitive facts about the ongoing criminal investigation into Trump. U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart accepted the DOJ’s proposed redactions to the affidavit one day before it was made public.

The affidavit details the government’s view that it had probable cause to believe the search of Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida, resort home would turn up evidence of illegality.

Read the heavily redacted affidavit here.

The DOJ is conducting a criminal investigation into the removal of records from the White House and their shipment to Mar-a-Lago when Trump left office in January 2021. By law, presidential records must be turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration when a president exits office.

The search warrant itself, revealed voluntarily by the DOJ less than a week after the Aug. 8 raid, indicated that FBI agents were looking for materials showing violations of laws against obstruction of justice and the removal of official records, as well as the U.S. Espionage Act. 

The FBI took at least 20 boxes of items, including numerous sets of highly classified documents, according to a property receipt that was also made public by the DOJ.

The government argued last week against releasing the affidavit, even in a redacted form.

“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,” read a court filing from Jay Bratt, head of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of the DOJ’s National Security Division.

Bratt also argued that the affidavit “would serve as a roadmap to the government’s ongoing investigation” if disclosed.

Reinhart disagreed, and ordered the government to propose redactions to U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach, Florida, by Thursday. The judge accepted the DOJ’s redactions later that day.

The government said last week that the Mar-a-Lago raid is part of a probe that “implicates national security” and is still in its “early stages.”

Trump, who first revealed the FBI’s search of his Florida residence, has cast himself as the victim of a political attack by the Biden administration that was carried out against the presumptive Republican frontrunner in the 2024 presidential race.

The former president on Monday sued the government, asking a federal judge to block the DOJ from poring over the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago until a court-appointed third party reviews them.

“The political Hacks and Thugs had no right under the Presidential Records Act to storm Mar-a-Lago and steal everything in sight, including Passports and privileged documents,” Trump said in a social media post earlier Friday morning.

Read the redacted affidavit:

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