(Washington Examiner) The affidavit justifying the FBI’s unprecedented raid of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home was publicly released by the Justice Department on Friday, but only after it was heavily redacted.
“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 newly unsealed affidavit dated Aug. 5 said, revealing that the investigation “began as a result of a referral” from the National Archives and Records Administration to the Justice Department on Feb. 9.
The 32-page affidavit, written by a special agent with the FBI’s Washington Field Office whose name is redacted, said the National Archives referral said that on Jan. 18, it received “fifteen boxes of records” from Trump that had been transported from Mar-a-Lago and were reported by the National Archives to contain “highly classified documents intermingled with other records.”
TO READ THE FULL, REDACTED AFFIDAVIT, SCROLL DOWN
The Justice Department filed its proposed redactions to the Trump raid affidavit under seal Thursday morning, and Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart of West Palm Beach ruled Thursday afternoon that the DOJ had to file that redacted affidavit on the public docket by noon Friday. The records were unsealed after noon because the court docket website repeatedly crashed.
The special agent who authored the affidavit wrote that the FBI “opened a criminal investigation to, among other things, determine how the documents with classification markings and records were removed from the White House … and came to be stored” at Mar-a-Lago, determine whether the storage locations at Mar-a-Lago were “authorized locations” for storing classified information, figure out if additional classified documents “may have been stored in an unauthorized location” at Mar-a-Lago or elsewhere, and “identify any person(s) who may have removed or retained classified information without authorization and/or in an unauthorized space.”
“The FBI’s investigation has established that documents bearing classification markings, which appear to contain National Defense Information, were among the materials contained in the FIFTEEN BOXES and were stored at the PREMISES in an unauthorized location,” the affidavit said.
Large parts of the rest of the affidavit are heavily redacted.
The magistrate judge, who had also signed the search warrant for the Aug. 8 raid, indicated he agreed with the DOJ’s decision to black out swaths of the affidavit.
Last week, the DOJ announced its opposition to the release of the underlying justification for its search, just days after it agreed to unseal the FBI warrant for the search of Trump’s Florida resort.
“There remain compelling reasons, including to protect the integrity of an ongoing law enforcement investigation that implicates national security, that support keeping the affidavit sealed,” DOJ lawyers declared.
Trump has called for the affidavit to be released in full.
“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. They even broke into my safe with a safecracker — Can you believe?” Trump said on his Truth Social account on Friday morning. “This Act was created for a very good reason, and it works. We are right now living in a Lawless Country, that just so happens to be, also, a Failing Nation!”
The unsealed search warrant application cover sheet provided more details on what the Justice Department was looking for in the raid.