Former President Donald Trump’s legal team faces a Thursday morning deadline to respond to a federal judge who is holding a hearing in Florida on whether to unseal the affidavit that secured court approval for the FBI to raid the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
The Department of Justice, in a court filing this week, said it opposes making the affidavit public, claiming that it would reveal critical details of the probe, including the names of witnesses and investigative techniques, and that grand jury secrecy should be maintained.
“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,” federal prosecutors wrote in court documents.
The hearing is being held Thursday afternoon in response to several media outlets asking the court to release the affidavit, which supported authorizing the search for classified documents that the former president allegedly took from the White House.
The Associated Press, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the broadcast TV networks, CNN and others have argued that the release would help the public determine if there were legitimate reasons for the search.
Trump, who has blasted the FBI for carrying out the raid on his Florida resort, has called for the “immediate release” of the affidavit.
“There is no way to justify the unannounced RAID of Mar-a-Lago, the home of the 45th President of the United States (who got more votes, by far, than any sitting President in the history of our Country!), by a very large number of gun toting FBI Agents, and the Department of ‘Justice’ but, in the interest of TRANSPARENCY, I call for the immediate release of the completely Unredacted Affidavit pertaining to this horrible and shocking BREAK-IN,” the former commander-in-chief wrote Monday in a posting on his Truth Social site.
Agents removed 27 boxes from the palatial Palm Beach estate on Aug. 8 — including 11 sets of classified documents labeled top secret or confidential — according to an inventory of items released by the Department of Justice.
The agency is investigating whether Trump broke three laws pertaining to the custody of government records, including the Espionage Act of 1917.
Trump has claimed he declassified any records stored at his residence and argued that some records may be protected by attorney-client privilege.