U.S. Justice Department opposes disclosure of evidence that led to the search of Trump's home
The U.S. Justice Department said Monday that it opposes the disclosure of affidavits that prosecutors used to obtain a federal judge’s authorization to search former President Donald Trump’s Florida home, where classified documents were seized.
“If declassified, the affidavit would provide specific details about the direction of the investigation and its likely course, which could very likely jeopardize future investigative efforts,” the court filing said.
Trump’s Republican allies have intensified calls in recent days for U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to declassify the contents of a document that would declassify the evidence that led to the search warrant for the former U.S. president’s home.
On Friday, at the Justice Department’s request, a federal court in the Southern District of Florida declassified the search warrant and several accompanying documents that showed FBI agents had taken 11 boxes of classified documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
Some of them were marked “top secret,” the highest level of secrecy used for the most closely guarded information. Such documents are usually kept by special government agencies because disclosure of the information could harm U.S. national security.
The Justice Department said it would not object to the release of other classified court documents related to the search.
The warrant, released Friday, revealed that the Justice Department is investigating violations of three laws, including a provision of the Espionage Act that prohibits possession of national defense information and another regarding knowingly destroying, concealing or falsifying documents with the intent to obstruct an investigation.
Donald Trump claimed without providing evidence that, as president, he issued an executive order to declassify all materials found in his home.
Garland’s decision to declassify the search warrant is highly unusual, given the Justice Department’s policy of not commenting on pending investigations.