Unseal Mar-a-Lago's search affidavit

Photo: Bryan Olin Dozier/Zuma Press Feder...


Bryan Olin Dozier/Zuma Press

Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart will hold a hearing Thursday on whether to unseal the affidavit the Federal Bureau of Investigation used to justify last week’s search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. The public interest is best served if the judge lets Americans see what only he and federal officials now know.

On Friday, Judge Reinhart issued the warrant for research after Attorney General Merrick Garland and Mr. Trump called for his release. The public gleaned general information about the warrant and what was collected, but not enough to conclude whether the unprecedented search of a former president’s home was justified. The affidavit almost certainly includes more detail about the legal and factual basis for the search.

The catch this time is that the Department of Justice wants to keep the affidavit secret lest its release jeopardize the criminal investigation. But that’s what the judiciary and the FBI always say. Mr Trump has asked for the affidavit to be released, so the judge cannot claim any risk to the former president’s privacy.

Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina senator, also called for the affidavit to be released because “we fly blindly in the dark.” He is right. This is an extraordinary case, and the public interest is huge. Mr. Trump may run for president again, but he is vulnerable to government leaks that damage his reputation but may have little evidence.

Someone told the Washington Post last week that the judiciary believed Mr. Trump had documents related to nuclear secrets, but the warrant turned up no such evidence. It contained a reference to a possible violation of the Espionage Act, but again without proof or elaboration.

It should be added that Dow Jones & Co., the owner of this newspaper, filed a motion with the court to request the publication of the affidavit. “Continued concealment is probably more damaging than disclosure,” the motion reads, “because the void-abhorring nature of political discourse has pumped all sorts of sensational guesses into the information vacuum.”

Mr. Trump and the public deserve to know more about why and how he might be charged with a crime.

Wonder Land: The first Trump presidency began with the tale of Russian collusion. Now we have its offspring – the Classified Documents Narrative, which, like its predecessor, is heavy on innuendo and light on fact. Images: Shutterstock/AFP/Getty Images Composition: Mark Kelly

Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in the August 18, 2022 print edition as “Unseal the Mar-a-Lago Affidavit”.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Unseal Mar-a-Lago's search affidavit
Unseal Mar-a-Lago's search affidavit
Newsrust - US Top News
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