Republicans push to see affidavit justifying FBI search of Trump’s home

WASHINGTON, Aug 14 (Reuters) – Republicans stepped up calls on Sunday for the release of an FBI affidavit showing justification for the seizure of documents from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, as there are reports of increased threats against federal law enforcement.

A search warrant issued last week after the unprecedented raid showed that Trump had 11 sets of classified documents at his home and that the Justice Department had probable cause to conduct the search based on possible violations of the law. espionage law. Read more

Republicans are calling for the release of more detailed information that persuaded a federal judge to issue the search warrant, which may show sources of information and details about the nature of documents and other classified information. The unsealing of such affidavits is highly unusual and would require the approval of a federal judge. Read more

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“I think the release of the affidavit would help, at least it would confirm that there was justification for this raid,” Republican Sen. Mike Rounds told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“The Department of Justice should ‘show that this was not just a fishing expedition, that they had a valid reason to come in and do this, that they exhausted all other means’ , Rounds said, “And if they can’t do it, then we have a serious problem on our hands.”

Separately on Sunday, the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Democrat Mark Warner and Republican Marco Rubio, asked the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to provide the documents seized on a classified basis.

A spokesman for the committee, responsible for overseeing the handling of classified information, said the two senators also requested “an assessment of potential national security risks” due to possible mishandling of the records.

Representative Mike Turner, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN on Sunday that the Biden administration should provide more details about what led to the search.

“Congress says, ‘Show us. We want to know what the FBI told them? What did they find?'” Turner said.

The Justice Department responded to a request for comment on the FBI affidavit.

INCREASED THREATS

Calls from Republicans came amid reports that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security warned of increased threats to law enforcement from social media platforms following the Mar-a-Lago raid.

The FBI said in a statement that it remains concerned about threats to law enforcement and is working with other agencies to assess and respond to those threats, “which are reprehensible and dangerous.”

Republican Representative Brian Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent and Pennsylvania prosecutor, said he was concerned about the safety of federal law enforcement officers amid such threats, adding that “everyone should call the calm”.

He told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the search of Trump’s home “was an unprecedented action that must be supported by an unprecedented justification” and that the probable cause affidavit would show whether that standard was met – even though it was only shown to lawmakers in a classified briefing.

“I have encouraged all of my colleagues left and right to reserve judgment and not step forward because we don’t know what this document contains. It will answer a lot of questions.”

DAMAGE ASSESSMENT

On Sunday, Democrats did not echo calls for the release of the affidavit.

Instead, Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, said he was asking for an assessment of the potential damage to U.S. national security from Trump’s possession of the classified documents, as well than an intelligence briefing.

The “Top Secret” and “Sensitive Compartmented Information” documents could cause “extremely serious damage to national security” if disclosed, Schiff told CBS.

“So the fact that they were in an unsecured place that is only guarded with a padlock, or whatever security they had in a hotel, is deeply alarming,” Schiff said.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told NBC she could not comment on whether the Justice Department should indict Trump on criminal charges.

“It will be up to the Department of Justice to make a decision on what happened here, why it happened and whether it elevates to the level of a crime,” Klobuchar said.

(The story corrects the 10th paragraph to read “did not respond”, adding the word “not”.)

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Reporting by David Lawder; Additional reporting by David Shepardson and Michael Martina; Editing by Heather Timmons and Lisa Shumaker

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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