A federal magistrate judge has ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to respond to requests to make public the warrant authorizing the FBI’s unprecedented Monday raid of former President Donald Trump’s residence.
Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart ordered the DOJ to “file a Response to the Motion to Unseal” the warrant Wednesday following requests made by the Times Union, a news outlet located in Albany, New York, and the conservative legal action group Judicial Watch. Reinhart said the DOJ must respond no later than August 15.
According to Trump attorney Christina Bobb, Reinhart signed off on the warrant application for the FBI raid. Before Reinhart became a judge, he was as a defense attorney and at one time worked on behalf of several individuals connected to the late sex offender and trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
BREAKING: Magistrate Judge Reinhart is asking for DOJ to respond to Judicial Watch's unsealing request for (what I presume is) the Mar-a-Lago warrant by COB on Aug. 15. pic.twitter.com/Y4uJV3TGoz
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) August 10, 2022
The FBI sent roughly two dozen agents and technicians to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida resort, on Monday morning to carry out a search warrant reportedly over classified documents the former president improperly took with him from the White House in January 2021.
“These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents. Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before,” Trump said in a statement Monday confirming the raid. “The political persecution of President Donald J. Trump has been going on for years, with the now fully debunked Russia, Russia, Russia Scam, Impeachment Hoax #1, Impeachment Hoax #2, and so much more, it just never ends. It is political targeting at the highest level!”
Trump was in New York at the time of the raid. New York Attorney General Latisha James deposed Trump on Tuesday in connection with her office’s ongoing civil investigation into his business and tax affairs. Trump pleaded his Fifth Amendment protections to all of James’ questions but one: confirming his name.
The FBI’s unprecedented raid against the former U.S. president, who is one of the leading candidates considering challenging President Joe Biden for office in 2024, set off a firestorm of criticism against the DOJ and Biden. The White House claimed ignorance about the raid; Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the West Wing found out about the raid in the news like the rest of the United States.
Lawmakers and others have called for the DOJ and FBI to explain the raid against Trump, warning about the politicization of the Justice Department and the FBI’s crumbling reputation among many Americans. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the leading Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, called on Christopher Wray to answer questions about the raid quickly and in depth.
“If the FBI isn’t extraordinarily transparent about its justification for yesterday’s actions and committed to rooting out political bias that has infected their most sensitive investigations, they will have sealed their own fate. The FBI’s mission and the many patriotic agents who work hard to carry it out will be forever overshadowed by the distrust the bureau has sown,” the Iowa senator said in a statement.