In an order issued on Friday, a federal court ordered the Justice Department to declassify an affidavit describing why secret materials were confiscated from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in August. The majority of the paper is obscured.
The DOJ stated in its announcement that extensive sections of the papers were blacked to protect the privacy of civilian witnesses, government officials, and FBI personnel.
The letter reads, “In essence, the government has well-founded fears that efforts may be taken to impede or otherwise interfere with this investigation if information in the affidavit were published prematurely.”
Both parties have demanded the publication of the affidavit given to the Florida judge who authorized the search.
While Trump hoped it would demonstrate that he had not been proved guilty of violating rules controlling presidential records and secret information, his detractors believed it would demonstrate that he had been implicated in such violations.
The following portions of the affidavit have not been redacted:
1. The government is conducting a criminal investigation concerning the improper removal and storage of classified information in unauthorized spaces, as well as the unlawful concealment or removal of government records. The investigation began as a result of a referral from the United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) sent to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) on February 9, 2022, hereinafter, “NARA Referral.”
The NARA Referral stated that on January 18, 2022, in accordance with the Presidential Records Act (PRA), NARA received from the office of former President DONALD J. TRUMP, hereinafter “FPOTUS,” via representatives, fifteen (15) boxes of records, hereinafter, the “FIFTEEN BOXES.”
The FIFTEEN BOXES, which had been transported from the FPOTUS property at 1100 S Ocean Blvd, Palm Beach, FL 33480, hereinafter, the “PREMISES,” a residence and club known as “Mar-a-Lago,” further described in Attachment A, were reported by NARA to contain, among other things, highly classified documents intermingled with other records.
2. After an initial review of the NARA Referral, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) opened a criminal investigation to, among other things, determine how the documents with classification markings and records were removed from the White House ( or any other authorized location(s) for the storage of classified materials) and came to be stored at the PREMISES: determine whether the storage location(s) at the PREMISES were authorized locations for the storage of classified information; determine whether any additional classified documents or records may have been stored in an unauthorized location at the PREMISES or another unknown location and whether they remain at any such location; and identify any person(s) who may have removed or retained classified information without authorization and/or in an unauthorized space.
3. The FBI’s investigation has established that documents bearing classification markings, which appear to contain National Defense Information (NDI), were among the materials contained in the FIFTEEN BOXES and were stored at the PREMISES in an unauthorized location.
More on this story via The Republic Brief:
Further, there is probable cause to believe that additional documents that contain classified NDI or that are Presidential records subject to record retention requirements currently remain at the PREMISES. There is also probable cause to believe that evidence of obstruction will be found at the PREMISES.
I am a Special Agent with the FBI assigned to the Washington Field Office REDACTED During this time, I have received training at the FBI Academy located at Quantico, Virginia, specific to counterintelligence and espionage investigations. REDACTED
Based on my experience and training, I am familiar with efforts used to unlawfully collect, retain, and disseminate sensitive government information, including classified NDI. CONTINUE READING…