- DOJ filed under seal a document in a federal court detailing its proposed redactions for the affidavit used to obtain a search warrant for former President Donald Trump's residence in Florida.
- A federal magistrate in Florida is considering requests from media outlets and others to unseal that affidavit, which led to the Aug. 8 raid on Trump's home at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach.
- The DOJ is probing the removal of hundreds of pages of documents from the White House when Trump left office in January 2021.
- Presidential documents by law are required to be turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration.
The Department of Justice on Thursday filed a proposal in federal court detailing redactions the department wants an affidavit used to obtain a search warrant for former President Donald Trump's residence in Florida if that affidavit were to become public.
The DOJ's suggestions had been requested by a magistrate judge in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, who is considering requests from media outlets and others to unseal the affidavit, which led to the Aug. 8 raid on Trump's home at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach.
The DOJ's proposal, which itself will remain under seal for now by court order, was expected to suggest extensive blacking out of portions of the affidavit because of the department's concern that full public disclosure of the document could put FBI agents or witnesses at risk, or undermine an ongoing criminal investigation.
The DOJ is probing the removal of hundreds of pages of documents from the White House when Trump left office in January 2021. Presidential documents by law are required to be turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration.
Court documents have revealed the DOJ is investigating possible violations of laws related to espionage and obstruction of justice.
Affidavits filed in support of search warrant applications routinely include details of why the FBI and prosecutors believe a crime has likely been committed, and what evidence they expect or hope to find at the location that is the target of the warrant.
During the raid on Mar-a-Lago, FBI agents seized about a dozen boxes of material. Court records indicate that the documents seized included material that was marked top secret.
"The United States has filed a submission under seal per the Court's order of Aug. 22," DOJ spokesman Anthony Coley said in a statement Thursday.
"The Justice Department respectfully declines further comment as the Court considers the matter," he said.
Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who authorized the raid and is presiding over issues related to the warrant, has indicated he is likely to unseal at least portions of the affidavit.
"I cannot say at this point that partial redactions will be so extensive that they will result in a meaningless disclosure, but I may ultimately reach that conclusion after hearing further from the government," Reinhart wrote in an order Monday.
Shortly after the proposal was filed, a group of media companies filed a motion asking the judge to unseal portions of the DOJ's legal brief arguing for the redactions.
"Like the search warrant affidavit itself, the Brief is a judicial record to which a presumption of public access applies," that motion by the media groups said.
"As this Court has already recognized, there is an 'intense public and historical interest in an unprecedented search of a former President's residence,' and the government bears the burden of demonstrating that 'a sufficiently important interest in secrecy" justifies sealing,' " the motion said.
The media groups include NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC.