A federal judge in Florida has scheduled a hearing on Aug. 18 to discuss requests to unseal the affidavit that federal investigators used to justify a search for former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who approved the Mar-a-Lago search warrant, will hear arguments over whether to unseal the affidavit — a move that the Justice Department opposes, citing the ongoing investigation.
“There remain compelling reasons, including to protect the integrity of an ongoing law enforcement investigation that implicates national security, that support keeping the affidavit sealed,” the Justice Department wrote in the 13-page filing on Aug. 15.
“Disclosure of the government’s affidavit at this stage would also likely chill future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses, as well as in other high-profile investigations,” the Justice Department further wrote.
A group of media organizations filed a request to make public the affidavit that convinced him to sign the warrant that allowed Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents to conduct the search.
The announcement comes as investigators sort through troves of documents taken from Trump’s residence, including some labeled as top secret and highly classified.
The announcement also came two hours before two people briefed on the matter told CNN that the FBI interviewed former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and his former deputy Patrick Philbin earlier this year as part of a criminal investigation of possible mishandle of classified information and obstruction.
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