In the week since the FBI raid on his estate, former President Donald Trump has called for the federal courts to unseal the affidavit supporting the warrant that allowed the raid.
But the former president hasn’t been the only one calling for the release of the warrant — he has found an unlikely ally in the mainstream media.
Many of the nation’s largest media companies are filing their own motion, and they will try to persuade a federal magistrate judge on Thursday afternoon to make the affidavit public.
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The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the broadcast TV networks, CNN and others want U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart to side with Trump and release the affidavit over the objection of the U.S. Justice Department, which says its investigation into “highly classified material” would be compromised.
On Aug. 12, The Horn News published reports about CNN’s motion.
The media companies argue the affidavit’s release would help the public determine if the Justice Department had legitimate reasons for the search or if it was part of a Biden administration vendetta against Trump, as the former president and his backers contend.
President Joe Biden can pardon Trump from the federal charges. But those aren’t the only legal troubles the former president is facing. In a blow on Thursday, Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of Donald Trump’s private company, is expected to plead guilty to tax violations Thursday in a deal that would require him to testify about business practices at the Trump Organization, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. This case is occurring in the criminal courts of New York, not the federal courts.
Trump, in a Truth Social post last week, called for the release of the unredacted affidavit in the interest of transparency.
“The matter is one of utmost public interest, involving the actions of current and former government officials,” wrote attorney Carol Jean LoCiero, who is representing the Times and others. “President Trump decried the search as an ‘assault that could only take place in Third World Countries,’ asserted agents ‘even broke into my safe,’ and otherwise challenged the validity of the search.”
Justice Department attorneys argued in a court filing that its investigation into Trump’s handling of “highly classified material” is ongoing and that the document contains sensitive information about witnesses.
The filing by Juan Antonio Gonzalez, the U.S. attorney in Miami, and Jay Bratt, a top Justice Department national security official, says making the affidavit public would “cause significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation.”
“If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap to the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, in a manner that is highly likely to compromise future investigative steps,” they wrote.
Previously, the Justice Department and Trump had both supported unsealing the warrant. “The public’s clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred under these circumstances weighs heavily in favor of unsealing,” the department wrote in a motion filed in federal court in Florida on Aug. 11. Since then, the Justice Department appears to have changed course.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Trump’s attorneys had not indicated on the court’s docket that they plan to take part in the hearing.
FBI agents searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on Aug. 8, removing 11 sets of classified documents, with some not only marked top secret but also “sensitive compartmented information,” according to a receipt of what was taken that was released Friday. That is 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 did not provide specific details about the information the documents might contain.
The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press contributed to this article.