What the Trump search warrant tells us: ‘Obstruction of investigation, violating the Espionage Act’

The search warrant approved by a Florida magistrate judge to search former President Donald Trump’s private residence was unsealed on Friday afternoon along with the laundry list of items plucked up by FBI agents in Monday’s unprecedented raid.

The documents obtained by Politico revealed that the former president is under investigation for allegedly violating the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice, and removal or destruction of records. Although there are rumblings on social media about Trump potentially having been in possession of nuclear-related documents, nothing in the newly unsealed documents supported that theory.

The receipt for the items seized from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort-style mansion included a few items specifically called out including an “Executive Grant of Clemency re: Roger Jason Stone, Jr.,” and “Info re: President of France.”

The federal magistrate judge who signed off on the warrant, Bruce Reinhart, was reported to have links to deceased convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The search warrant “revealed that dozens of items were seized, most of them described in vague terms like ‘leatherbound box of documents,’ ‘binder of photos’ and ‘handwritten note,'” Politico reported.

“Other items on the list indicate the presence of classified material, describing them as ‘miscellaneous top secret documents’ and ‘miscellaneous confidential documents,'” the outlet added.

Conservative commentator Jack Posobiec added on Twitter that “A grand jury has been empaneled in DC” in conjunction with the investigation.

Although the warrant itself was made public, several attorneys have explained that the warrant by itself “is meaningless” and the affidavit detailing why the warrant was issued is where the meat of the matter would be.

“I will say it over and over and over again,” conservative civil rights attorney Leo Terrell wrote on social media. “The warrant is meaningless. I want to see the affidavit, affidavit affidavit, affidavit. Merrick Garland release the affidavit.”

Freedom fighting Florida attorney Jeff Childers explained on his blog on Friday that “the sworn affidavit describes all the evidence allegedly justifying ‘probable cause,’ and is signed under oath by an investigator on the case. The affidavit is then presented to a judge who is required to accept its contents as true. Obviously the search’s target gets no chance to present competing evidence – they don’t even know it’s happening.”

“In this case, given the political stakes, it had to be a very substantial affidavit. I’d guess it was easily over a hundred pages long, including exhibits,” Childers speculated.

Childers outlined why law enforcement is typically reluctant to hand over the underlying affidavit that is being called on to be unsealed.

“So between the two documents, the search warrant is the least interesting and least informative. The AFFIDAVIT is what you want to see,” he continued. “You almost never get to see it. The affidavit is the LAST thing that law enforcement usually turns over. They usually claim investigative privilege citing ‘sources and methods,’ and want to wait until the entire investigation and any criminal charges are completely resolved before turning it over.”

Governmental watchdog Tom Fitton called the warrant materials a total “scam” and cited that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has a Monday deadline to detail its position on the release of the affidavit to the court.

Others predicted that it would be difficult to pry the affidavit out of the politically weaponized DOJ’s hands.

The New York Times even got in on the chant for the affidavit, filing a motion on Wednesday to compel the court to unseal and make public all documents related to the search warrant because “This matter is one of utmost public interest, involving the actions of current and former government officials.”

Meanwhile, the former president’s office noted in a statement Friday that Trump had issued a “standing order” while he was in office that “documents removed from the Oval Office and taken into the residence were deemed to be declassified.”

“The power to classify and declassify documents rests solely with the President of the United States,” the statement provided to John Solomon’s “Just the News” site read. “The idea that some paper-pushing bureaucrat, with classification authority delegated BY THE PRESIDENT, needs to approve of declassification is absurd.”

 

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