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The U.S. Department of Justice is moving to unseal more documents related to the raid on former President Donald Trump’s home in Florida but will not unseal the underlying FBI affidavit because it claims that doing so will damage the ongoing criminal investigation.
U.S. Attorney Juan Gonzalez and Justice Department counterintelligence chief Jay Bratt said in a court filing that unsealing the affidavit could also cause damage to U.S. national security.
“Disclosure at this juncture of the affidavit supporting probable cause would, by contrast, cause significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation,” Bratt wrote. “If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap to the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, in a manner that is highly likely to compromise future investigative steps.”
Bratt warned that unsealing the affidavit would risk revealing the identities of witnesses who could then decide to not cooperate in this investigation or “other high-profile investigations.”
“The fact that this investigation implicates highly classified materials further underscores the need to protect the integrity of the investigation and exacerbates the potential for harm if information is disclosed to the public prematurely or improperly,” he added.
Bratt said that investigators do not object to unsealing other materials related to the raid that have not been released yet, which may need to first receive minor redactions, including cover sheets related to the search warrant application and other documents.
Federal investigators recovered at least 4 sets of top secret documents, 3 sets of secret documents, and 3 sets of confidential documents during their search, which U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland authorized.
Multiple sources told The New York Times that at least one of Trump’s lawyers signed a written statement to the U.S. Department of Justice earlier this summer that claimed all classified material and boxes in a storage area on the property had been returned to the federal government. Agents searched the storage area and Trump’s office and residence on the property.
The signed declaration, combined with the at least 11 sets of classified documents that were discovered on the property, could mean that either Trump or his legal team potentially lied to federal investigators.
The sections of the U.S. criminal code that were cited on the search warrant indicate the investigation centers around potential violations of the Espionage Act, the unlawful taking of government records, and obstruction of justice related to destroying documents.
This is a developing news story; refresh the page for updates.