And now we look at the much-anticipated and heavily redacted affidavit that provoked a search of Merde-a-Lardo.
The Pod Save Whatevs boys email thingie gives us a concise overview:
A redacted version of the affidavit that precipitated the search warrant of former president Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence has been released. New information points to the fact that the search was set in motion after FBI agents reviewed 184 classified documents that were kept at Trump’s Florida property after he left the White House until they were returned in January, and interviewed a “significant number” of witnesses.
- The affidavit suggests that if some of the classified documents returned from Mar-a-Lago in January had fallen into the wrong hands, they could have revealed sensitive details about human intelligence sources, or how spy agencies intercept the electronic communications of foreign targets. Particularly damning, the affidavit states: “There is also probable cause to believe that evidence of obstruction will be found.” But of the 38 pages in the affidavit, nearly half are entirely or mostly redacted.
- Today’s release does not provide new details about the 11 sets of classified records recovered during the August 8 search, but instead concerns the 15 boxes that Trump handed over to the National Archives and Records Administration in January, of which 14 contained classified documents, many of them top secret. According to the affidavit, part of the FBI’s rationale for searching Mar-a-Lago last month was that no space at Mar-a-Lago was authorized for the storage of classified materials. But it’s not just how they were stored, it was the possible unlawful concealment or removal of the documents. On top of that, classified materials were mixed with unclassified documents like newspapers, magazines, and personal documents, which further demonstrates Trump’s complete gross negligence with sensitive information and property that doesn’t belong to him.
Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) email thingie wins the morning ™
On Friday, we got a snapshot of the Justice Department’s documents that led to the FBI search of DONALD TRUMP’s Mar-a-Lago estate. And while they were filled with substantial redactions, additional reporting over the last 24 hours has helped explain why that is.
— The threat of obstruction: Among prosecutors’ reasons for so heavily redacting the documents was a section that “made clear that they feared the former president and his allies might take any opportunity to intimidate witnesses or otherwise illegally obstruct their investigation,” NYT’s Charlie Savage writes. Much of the focus since the investigation began has centered on the Espionage Act, but Savage writes that “by some measures, the crime of obstruction is a threat to Mr. Trump or his close associates that is as much or even more serious.”
— What shocked investigators: “[A]gents were most alarmed to discover that many of the materials included the highest national security restrictions, requiring they be held in controlled government storage facilities, and barring them from ever being shared with foreign governments, to protect ‘clandestine human sources,’ or informants employed by the intelligence community to collect information around the world,” NYT’s Glenn Thrush, Alan Feuer and Maggie Haberman write.
— What exactly is missing from the docs: “JACK SHARMAN, a corporate litigator who has been involved in numerous government investigations, said affidavits that get publicly released are usually protective of confidential informants as well as personal identifying information of the informants, or of law enforcement agents, given the threats to law enforcement from some Trump supporters,” WaPo’s Amber Phillips writes. “Also, statements made by witnesses or informants can be redacted. And just about anything having to do with a related investigation or potential subjects or targets is usually cut from these kinds of releases, Sharman said.”
— Still waiting:AP’s Jill Colvin and Nomaan Merchant note that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence thus far “has not responded to calls from Congress for a damage assessment.” Senate Intelligence Chair MARK WARNER(D-Va.) re-upped his request for one following Friday’s release.
The NYTimes tells us how well the affidavit went over with Hair Füror’s fellow fascists:
In the minutes and hours after the FBI’s search of former President Donald J. Trump’s residence in Florida this month, his supporters did not hesitate to denounce what they saw as a blatant abuse of power and outrageous politicization of the Justice Department.
But with the release of a redacted affidavit detailing the justification for the search, the former president’s allies were largely silent, a potentially telling reaction with ramifications for his political future.
Over at The Daily Beast they are not mincing words:
I believe Trump will actually be indicted for a criminal offense. Even with all its redactions, the probable cause affidavit published today by the magistrate judge in Florida makes clear to me three essential points:
- Trump was in unauthorized possession of national defense information, namely properly marked classified documents.
- He was put on notice by the U.S. Government that he was not permitted to retain those documents at Mar-a-Lago.
- He continued to maintain possession of the documents (and allegedly undertook efforts to conceal them in different places throughout the property) up until the FBI finally executed a search warrant earlier this month.
“That is the ball game, folks. Absent some unforeseen change in factual or legal circumstances, I believe there is little left for the Justice Department to do but decide whether to wait until after the midterms to formally seek the indictment from the grand jury.”
As we mentioned earlier, Hair Füror is squealing like a pig having a YUGE tantrum on his private twitter-like thingie; I think we can poke him with a fork pretty soon: He’s done.
And I am sticking with my original hot take, tho no one in the media is saying it, I cannot come up with any reason why the tufted goblin would fight so hard to keep this material unless he was planning on monetizing it somehow. Even from the very anodyne descriptions of what is in those classified documents, you can bet some autocrat somewhere would pay top dollar for a peek.