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The Justice Department released a redacted version of the affidavit used by the FBI in the search of Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago home.
“Based upon the following facts, there is probable cause to believe that the locations to be searched at the PREMISES contain evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 793(e), 1519,or2071,” the affidavit reads.
The affidavit is the sworn statement that the FBI submitted to a federal judge in order to obtain the warrant to search Trump’s Mar-A-Lago home. Affidavits typically contain vital information about an investigation, with agents spelling out to a judge the justification for why they want to search a particular property and why they believe they’re likely to find evidence of a potential crime there.
But affidavits routinely remain sealed during pending investigations, making the judge’s decision to reveal portions of it all the more striking.
Two weeks ago, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the Justice Department filed a motion to unseal the search warrant after Trump’s false assertions about the search at Mar-A-Lago.
“Copies of both the warrant, and the FBI property receipt were provided on the day of the search to the former President’s council, who was on site during the search. The search warrant was authorized by a federal court upon the required finding of probable cause,” Garland said.
Warrant Shows Espionage Act Investigation, Affidavit To Be Released
The search warrant, reviewed by multiple media outlets, revealed that the FBI is investigating Trump for a potential violation of the Espionage Act as well as obstruction of justice.
A receipt accompanying the search warrant, viewed by POLITICO, shows that Trump possessed documents including a handwritten note; documents marked with “TS/SCI,” which indicate one of the highest levels of government classification.
The warrant shows federal law enforcement was investigating Trump for removal or destruction of records, obstruction of an investigation, and violating the Espionage Act. Conviction under the statutes can result in imprisonment or fines.
Documents already made public show the FBI retrieved from the property 11 sets of classified documents, including information marked at the top secret level. A letter released this week revealed that the National Archives and Records Administration recovered more than 100 documents bearing classified markings, totaling more than 700 pages, from an initial batch of 15 boxes retrieved from Mar-a-Lago earlier this year.