Wisconsin Spotlight | Aug. 17, 2022
As Judicial Watch seeks documents from a controversial criminal investigation that “reeks of corruption and dishonesty,” the Biden Department of Justice is opposing the government watchdog’s request.
The DOJ doesn’t want a federal court to unseal the affidavit used to justify the raid on former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. In their filing, Justice Department officials claim that releasing the affidavit would “cause significant and irreparable damage” to its ongoing criminal investigation.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said it appears the Biden Justice Department is telling the court what to do. He said Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart should make his own assessment on 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,” Fitton said. “No administration should be able to raid the home of a former president and putative presidential candidate based on ‘secret’ reasons.”
On Aug. 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.
On August 11, the DOJ filed a motion offering to unseal certain warrant materials.
A day later, 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 raid on Aug. 8. Later that day, the DOJ made a partial release of the Trump raid warrant materials.
According to reports, FBI agents seized a total of 27 boxes from the raid. They claim 11 boxes contained classified documents, including top secret records. ABC News contributor and former federal prosecutor Kan Nawaday this week said the fact that the judge found probable cause to believe there was a violation of the Espionage Act is a “huge, big powder keg.”
Nawaday, a defense attorney, is a former Southern District of New York federal prosecutor appointed by former President Barack Obama.
Fitton said 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,” he said.
In its motion, Judicial Watch notes it’s 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,” the motion states.
Read more at Judicial Watch