If authorities are unwilling to show the sealed affidavit behind the FBI and Department of Justice raid of former President Donald Trump’s private residence to the public, the documents should at least be revealed to Congress, Rep. Mike Turner, R-O.H., told Newsmax on Monday.
“They should have a pretty high bar of this,” Turner said about the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago.
Turner said Congress deserves to know why the Department of Justice, under orders from U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, didn’t use a court subpoena to force the return of documents wanted by the National Archives.
“This must rise to the level of immediate national security level in order for them to go into his home,” Turner told Newsmax’s Greta Van Susteren.
“They had the ability to go to court and even just enforce the subpoena that they had asking for a court to take possession of the documents… ordering the former president to deliver documents to them,” Turner said.
“None of those actions were taken,” he claimed. “They went all the way to raiding his home and spent nine hours.”
Turner said at least the top ranking members of Congress should be told exactly what the FBI was trying to seize and why the agency felt justified to raid the personal home of a former president.
“The members of the Intelligence Committee — and certainly what’s known as the ‘Gang of Eight’ which is a smaller group — even of the intelligence committee, and leadership from the Senate and the House” should be shown the affidavit, he said.
“They don’t want to release the affidavit, as you’ve been reporting, to the public,” Turner said. “But they can release that affidavit to us. They need to tell us; ‘What did you say you were looking for, and what did you find?'”
“Does this actually rise to the level of an immediate national security threat?” he asked. “Or is this merely abusive discretion on behalf of [the Department of Justice]?”
A property receipt unsealed Friday showed the FBI seized 11 sets of classified documents, with some not only marked top secret but also “sensitive compartmented information,” a special category meant to protect the nation’s most important secrets that if revealed publicly could cause “exceptionally grave” damage to U.S. interests.
The court records failed to provide specific details about the information the documents might contain.
Trump called the search unjustified on Tuesday and called for the “immediate release” of the unredacted affidavit that detailed why the FBI raided his home.
“There is no way to justify the unannounced RAID of Mar-a-Lago, the home of the 45th President of the United States (who got more votes, by far, than any sitting President in the history of our Country!), by a very large number of gun toting FBI Agents, and the Department of “Justice” but, in the interest of TRANSPARENCY, I call for the immediate release of the completely Unredacted Affidavit pertaining to this horrible and shocking BREAK-IN. Also, the Judge on this case should recuse!” Trump wrote on his Truth Social website.
The Justice Department rebuffed efforts to make public the affidavit supporting the search warrant and said the investigation “implicates highly classified material” and the document contains sensitive information about witnesses.
The government’s opposition came in response to numerous court filings seeking to unseal the underlying affidavit the Justice Department submitted when it asked for the warrant.
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The court filing — from Juan Antonio Gonzalez, the U.S. attorney in Miami, and Jay Bratt, a top Justice Department national security official — argues that making the affidavit public would “cause significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation.”
The document, the prosecutors say, details “highly sensitive information about witnesses,” including people who have been interviewed by the government, and contains confidential grand jury information.
The government told a federal magistrate judge that prosecutors believe some additional records, including the cover sheet for the warrant and the government’s request to seal the documents, should now be made public.
The Justice Department acknowledged Monday that its ongoing criminal investigation “implicates highly classified material.”
It remains unclear whether the Justice Department moved forward with the warrant simply as a means to retrieve the records or as part of a wider criminal investigation or an attempt to prosecute the former president. Multiple federal laws govern the handling of classified information, with both criminal and civil penalties, as well as presidential records.
The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press contributed to this article