August 15, 2022
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that the Biden Department of Justice opposes its request that the court unseal the affidavit used to justify the controversial raid on the home of former President Trump. The Justice Department was ordered by Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart to respond by 5:00 pm today to Judicial Watch’s Motion to Unseal the warrant and supporting materials behind the FBI raid of President Donald Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago. In its filing, the Justice Department alleged that releasing the affidavit would “cause significant and irreparable damage” to its ongoing criminal investigation.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued the following statement in response the Biden Justice Department’s opposition to Judicial Watch’s Motion to Unseal:
It seems like the Biden Justice Department is telling the court what to do. Respectfully, the court should make its own independent assessment of the compelling public interest in transparency about this abusive raid. The ‘criminal investigation’ the Biden administration is covering up reeks of corruption and dishonesty – and is based on a reinvention of law about presidential records that is at odds with the U.S. Constitution, court rulings, federal statutes, and prior government legal positions and practice. No administration should be able to raid the home of a former president and putative presidential candidate based on ‘secret’ reasons.
The U.S. Constitution and federal law give unreviewable authority to President Trump to take whatever records he wishes at the end of his presidency. The Biden administration’s dishonest depiction of personal records of President Trump it illicitly seized during the raid as “classified” is further demonstration that the raid was a brazen act of raw political abuse.
On August 9, Judicial Watch filed its motion asking the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to unseal as soon as possible the search warrant materials used by the FBI to raid President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida (U.S. v. Sealed Search Warrant (Case No. 9:22-mj-08332)).
On August 11, the DOJ filed a motion offering to unseal certain warrant materials.
On August 12, Judicial Watch filed President Trump’s public statement with the court, in which he made it clear that he would not oppose the release of documents related to the August 8, 2022, raid. Later that day, the DOJ made a partial release of the Trump raid warrant materials.
Initially, the Albany Times Union and the New York Times joined Judicial Watch in filing for the unsealing of the warrant by filing an amicus letter and motion respectively. Other interests later joined in the effort.
Due to multiple organizations filing to unseal the warrant, Judge Reinhart further ordered that, “To avoid the need for individualized orders on any future motion(s) to unseal, it is ORDERED that the Government shall file an omnibus response to all motions to unseal on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on August 15, 2022.”
In its motion Judicial Watch states:
Judicial Watch is investigating the potential politicization of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice and whether the FBI and the Justice Department are abusing their law enforcement powers to harass a likely future political opponent of President Biden.
The public has an urgent and substantial interest in understanding the predicate for the execution of the unprecedented search warrant of the private residence of a former president and likely future political opponent…. [N]o official explanation or information has been released about the search. As of the filing of this motion, the public record consists solely of speculation and inuendo. In short, the historical presumption of access to warrant materials vastly outweighs any interest the government may have in keeping the materials under seal.
Given the political context, and the highly unusual action of executing a search warrant at the residence of a former President and likely future political opponent, it is essential that the public understands as soon as possible the basis for the government’s action. Any government interest in securing the identities of witnesses and confidential sources, if any, may be addressed by appropriate redactions from the search warrant affidavit.
Judicial Watch has taken a leading role in uncovering the Obama/Deep State spying and other abuses targeting President Trump and his associates.
Recently, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ for records ordered declassified and released by President Trump the day before he left office. The records relate to “Crossfire Hurricane,” the controversial spy operation against President Trump, his 2016 presidential campaign, and other Trump associates, and have yet to be made public by the Biden administration.
In May 2020, Judicial Watch litigation uncovered the “electronic communication” (EC) that officially launched the counterintelligence investigation, termed “Crossfire Hurricane,” of President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. The document was written by Strzok.
In March 2019 Judicial Watch released heavily redacted records from the DOJ that reveal Bruce Ohr remained in regular contact with former British spy and Fusion GPS contractor Christopher Steele after Steele was terminated by the FBI in November 2016 for revealing to the media his position as an FBI confidential informant.
In August 2019, Judicial Watch uncovered “302” report material from FBI interviews with Bruce Ohr, showing that in November 2016, Ohr said that “reporting on Trump’s ties to Russia were going to the Clinton Campaign” and “Jon Winer at the U.S. State Department and the FBI.” The documents also showed that Ohr knew that Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson and others were “talking to Victoria Nuland at the U.S. State Department.” (A Form 302 is used by FBI agents to summarize the interviews that they conduct and contains information from the notes taken during the interview.)
In August 2018, the Justice Department (DOJ) admitted in a court filing that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court held no hearings on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) spy warrant applications targeting Carter Page, a former Trump campaign part-time advisor who was the subject of four controversial FISA warrants. Judicial Watch litigation also uncovered the secret FISA warrants that confirmed the FBI and DOJ misled the courts in withholding the material information that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC were behind the “intelligence” used to persuade the courts to approve the FISA warrants that targeted the Trump team.
Also, in August of that year, Judicial Watch discovered FBI records about Christopher Steele, the former British spy, hired with Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee funds, who authored the infamous dossier targeting President Trump during the presidential campaign. The documents show that Steele was cut off as a “Confidential Human Source” (CHS) after he disclosed his relationship with the FBI to a third party. The documents show at least 11 FBI payments to Steele in 2016 and document that he was admonished for unspecified reasons in February 2016.