In their new filings arguing for some continued secrecy, the Justice Department clarified the seriousness of the ongoing criminal investigation, which it said “involves highly classified material.”
“Disclosure of the government’s affidavit at this stage would reduce the future cooperation of witnesses who could be helpful as this investigation progresses and in other high-profile investigations,” the Justice Department wrote. “The fact that this investigation involves highly classified material further underscores the need to protect the integrity of the investigation and increases the potential harm if information is prematurely or improperly disclosed to the public.”
Release of the affidavit details “at this time” would cause “significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation,” the Justice Department said in its filing.
“The redactions necessary to mitigate the harm to the integrity of the trial would be so extensive as to render the remaining unsealed text devoid of meaningful content, and publication of such a redacted version would not serve any public interest,” the Justice Department said.
CNN, joined by The Washington Post, NBC News and Scripps, asked a judge last week to unseal all documents connected to the FBI search — including any probable cause affidavits.
“It’s not because the Nixon administration is subject to such a dramatic and public criminal process,” the outlets said in the filing, “that it seeks to shed light on the federal government’s unprecedented actions and motivations.”
“Here, there could be no more ‘historic event’ than the FBI raid on the home of a former president who allegedly purged national security records after leaving office,” the outlets said.
The New York Times, CBS, Palm Beach Post, The Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Times, Wall Street Journal, Associated Press and ABC also asked the judge to unseal the pledge.
The search warrant identifies violations of the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice and criminal manipulation of government records as grounds for the search.
Republican politicians have continued to demand that the Justice Department explain why it took the dramatic step of searching Mar-a-Lago.
After a judge last week sealed a search warrant and receipt for Trump’s property, the Senate Republican from South Carolina. Lindsey Graham said in a series of tweets that “we still need to see the affidavit,” and “we want Attorney General (Merrick) Garland.” Disclose the information why a warrant is necessary, not what was taken.”
South Dakota’s Republican Senate. Mike Rounds said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “the release of the affidavit would be helpful, at least to confirm that the trial was justified.”
Prosecutors “have to show that it’s not just a fishing trip, that they have a good reason to go in and do this, and that they’ve exhausted all other avenues,” Rounds said, stressing that waiting could hurt the integrity of the department. “If they can’t do that, we have a serious problem on our hands.”
Sen. Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Marco Rubio sent a letter Sunday to Garland and top intelligence officials seeking a classified explanation of the documents seized in Mar-Aw. -Lago.
Ohio Rep. Mike Turner, a Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee, echoed that demand on Sunday, telling CNN’s Brianna Keillor that “Congress is telling us to show you the stuff.”
“Total coffee junkie. Tv ninja. Unapologetic problem solver. Beer expert.”