WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department on Monday denied efforts to make public an affidavit supporting a search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s estate in Florida, saying the investigation “contains highly classified information” and that the document contains sensitive information about witnesses.
The government’s objection came in response to a court filing by several news organizations, including the Associated Press, seeking to unseal the underlying affidavit submitted by the Justice Department when it sought a warrant to search Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate earlier this month.
Trump, in a Truth Community post earlier Tuesday, called for the unredacted affidavit to be released in the interest of transparency.
The court filing — from U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez in Miami and Justice Department National Security Officer Jay Pratt — argues that making the affidavit public “would cause significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation.”
Prosecutors say the document details “highly sensitive information about witnesses,” including people interviewed by the government, and contains confidential jury information.
Prosecutors believe some additional records must now be made public, including the government’s request to a federal magistrate judge, the cover sheet for the warrant and the government’s request to seal the documents.
An unsealed asset receipt on Friday showed the FBI seized 11 sets of classified documents, not just some top secrets, but also “sensitive information,” a special category that protects the nation’s most sensitive secrets that would be “exceptionally large” if made public. ”Bad to American interests. Court records did not provide specific details about the information contained in the documents.
The Justice Department acknowledged Monday that its ongoing criminal investigation “involves highly classified material.”
The search warrant, which was unsealed Friday, also said federal agents were investigating possible violations of three different federal laws, including the collection, transmission or loss of security information under the Espionage Act. Other statutes address the concealment, destruction, or removal of records and the destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in federal investigations.
The Mar-a-Lago search warrant executed last Monday was part of a Justice Department investigation into the discovery of classified White House records recovered from Trump’s home earlier this year. The National Archives had asked the department to investigate after it said 15 boxes of records recovered from the estate contained classified records.
It’s unclear whether the Justice Department moved forward with the order simply as a means of retrieving records, or as part of a broader criminal investigation or prosecution of the former president. A number of federal laws govern the handling of classified information, including both criminal and civil penalties and presidential records.
But the Justice Department argued in Monday’s filing that its investigation is active and ongoing and that releasing more information would not only compromise the investigation but also subject witnesses to threats or prevent others from coming forward to cooperate with prosecutors.
“If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a guide to the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and potential course, which would make it more likely to compromise future investigative proceedings,” the government filed in court.