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UPDATE: Judge Says Unseal DOJ Redacted Version of Affidavit for Raid

'If and when additional facts ... no longer pose a threat to the investigation for any other reason, there is no justification for maintaining them under seal either...'

UPDATE: Politically partisan and compromised Judge Bruce Reinhart on late Thursday afternoon ordered the Justice Department to make public a redacted version of the affidavit it relied on when federal agents searched the Florida estate of former President Donald Trump to look for classified documents.

The same DOJ that was weaponized politically to raid Trump’s home will get to pick and choose what parts of the affidavit the public gets to see, which will likely consist of pages of blacked-out text except for key words like Trump and Guilty.

The judge set a deadline of noon Friday for a redacted, or blacked-out, version of the document.

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(Headline USA) The Justice Department on Thursday submitted to a judge proposed redactions to the affidavit it relied on when federal agents searched the Florida estate of former President Donald Trump to look for classified documents.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart will decide whether the sealed FBI affidavit, which presumably lays out a detailed factual basis for the search, will become public—and if so, how much is disclosed.

“The United States has filed a submission under seal per the Court’s order of Aug. 22,” Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said in a statement. “The Justice Department respectfully declines further comment as the Court considers the matter.”

Reinhart had given the department until Thursday at noon to propose to him the redactions to the affidavit it wanted to make before any portion of it was released to the public.

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But he acknowledged on Monday that it was possible that the redactions, or blacked-out portions, would be so extensive as to leave the public version of the document without any meaningful information.

The affidavit is likely to contain key information about the FBI’s supposed basis for executing a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach on Aug. 8.

A number of legal experts—including two former White House counsel under some of Trump’s presidential predecessors—have said that the raid had no legal basis since the Presidential Records Act took precedence over the vague statutes cited in the overly broad search warrant.

Documents already made public as part of the investigation show that the FBI retrieved from the property 11 sets of classified documents, including information marked at the top secret level.

However, none of the charges the FBI is pursuing would require it to prove whether the documents were classified at the time, rendering moot many of the accusations it has made publicly to justify the raid.

The documents also showed that the FBI was investigating the “willful retention of national defense information,” the concealment or removal of government records and obstruction of a federal investigation.

Considerable speculation has surrounded the possibility—now seemingly a likelihood—that the materials recovered in the raid related, in large part, to the Russia-collusion hoax in which the FBI and DOJ were themselves implicated.

Trump had previously declared while president that all materials related to the seditious “Crossfire Hurricane” operation would be declassified.

Multiple news media organizations, including the Associated Press, argued in court last week for the disclosure of the affidavit, citing the extraordinary public interest in the federal search of a former president’s home.

Trump and some of his supporters have also encouraged the document’s release, and the conservative watchdog Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit to unseal the affidavit.

The media coalition responded to Thursday’s filing by asking the judge to unseal portions of the department’s brief and to direct the government, “going forward,” to file publicly a redacted version of any sealed document it submits. The groups noted that significant information about the investigation is already public.

“At a minimum, any portions of the Brief that recite those facts about the investigation, without revealing additional ones not yet publicly available—in addition to any other portions that pose no threat to the investigation—should be unsealed,” the news organizations wrote.

They added: “If and when additional facts come to light and are confirmed to be accurate, or certain facts no longer pose a threat to the investigation for any other reason, there is no justification for maintaining them under seal either.”

The Justice Department has opposed the release, claiming the disclosure risks compromising an ongoing criminal investigation, revealing information about witnesses and divulging investigative techniques.

However, skeptics believe that the agencies have been corrupted by the Biden administration and are weaponizing their investigation as part of an effort to undermine Trump politically ahead of the upcoming midterm election and the 2024 presidential election.

Already, they have been suspected of leaking information to the Washington Post to claim, without any publicly available evidence, that Trump was in possession of nuclear codes.

Reinhart, a partisan activist who previously posted derogatory comments about Trump on social media, and recused himself from an earlier lawsuit of Trump’s involving Hillary Clinton and other culpable parties in the Russia hoax.

He has claimed that though he was sensitive to the department’s concerns, he was not inclined to keep the entire document sealed and directed officials to submit to him redactions of the document reflecting the information it wants to keep secret.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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