Trump: Affidavit shows FBI, DOJ ‘public relations subterfuge’

Former President Trump on Friday bashed the Department of Justice and a federal judge following the release of a heavily redacted affidavit that provided several new details on the search of his Mar-a-Lago estate earlier this month.

“Affidavit heavily redacted!!! Nothing mentioned on ‘Nuclear,’ a total public relations subterfuge by the FBI & DOJ, or our close working relationship regarding document turnover – WE GAVE THEM MUCH,” Trump posted on Truth Social, the social media site he helped launch.

Trump also complained that the judge in the case, Bruce Reinhart, should not have signed off on the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago and suggested he should have recused himself from the case. Reinhart has received threats in the wake of the search.

The former president’s response appeared to be specifically referencing a report that some of the documents he had at Mar-a-Lago contained classified information about the nation’s nuclear program. The specific contents of the documents were not detailed in the affidavit released Friday.

The redacted affidavit came out one week after Reinhart said the federal government could make recommendations for redactions but that he saw no reason to keep the document under seal.

The document said authorities found 184 classified documents in their initial review of boxes recovered from the home in January. Of those 184 documents, 68 were marked “confidential,” 92 were marked “secret” and 25 were marked “top secret,” according to the affidavit.

The 28-page affidavit, which was used to justify the search earlier this month, contains numerous redactions but indicates that the January review caused authorities to believe “evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed” would be found at Mar-a-Lago. The affidavit also indicates “there is probable cause to believe that evidence of obstruction” would be found at the estate.

In a separate filing explaining the rationale behind its redactions, DOJ said it had to protect “a broad range of civilian witnesses,” warning they would likely face intimidation.  

Trump has in the weeks since the FBI search attacked the judge in the case as well as federal law enforcement, claiming he is the victim of political persecution. 

He has repeatedly asserted that he cooperated with authorities to turn over documents prior to the search. Federal officials have indicated they had concerns about the handling of sensitive materials and had previous conversations with Trump’s representatives about the documents prior to the search.

The search has galvanized Republican support for Trump at a time when he is mulling a campaign for the White House in 2024, with the vast majority of GOP officials arguing the search was unjustified and calling for the release of the full affidavit.

“The release of a heavily redacted, overtly political affidavit only proves that the Biden administration is desperate to cover up their unprecedented, unnecessary, and un-American raid against President Donald J. Trump,” Taylor Budowich, a spokesperson for the former president, tweeted Friday.

“This is a grave travesty, and what is unredacted only further supports President Trump’s position, there was NO reason for a raid – it is all politics!” Budowich added.

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