Bruce Reinhart, the federal magistrate judge who signed off on the warrant that led to the raid on former President Donald Trump’s Florida home, has scheduled an in-person hearing for Thursday on the topic of the FBI affidavit at the center of the investigation, according to multiple reports.
Reinhart will hold the hearing on Aug. 18 in the West Palm Beach Division, according to Fox News. The judge will determine whether the Department of Justice must unseal the search warrant materials, likely including the search warrant affidavit. The DOJ is expected to argue to keep the document sealed, as reported by the New York Post.
Reinhart, who notedly has made prior anti-Trump social media posts, was the target of one Trump post claiming that “the Judge on this case should recuse!”
South Florida U.S. Attorney Juan Gonzalez and Justice Department counterintelligence chief Jay Bratt said in a court filing that unsealing the affidavit could cause damage to U.S. national security.
“Disclosure at this juncture of the affidavit supporting probable cause would, by contrast, cause significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation,” Bratt wrote. “If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap to the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, in a manner that is highly likely to compromise future investigative steps.”
Bratt argued that unsealing the affidavit would risk revealing the identities of witnesses who could then decide to not cooperate in this investigation or “other high-profile investigations.”
“The fact that this investigation implicates highly classified materials further underscores the need to protect the integrity of the investigation and exacerbates the potential for harm if information is disclosed to the public prematurely or improperly,” he added.
In addition, the Biden administration requested Monday that a federal court keep the affidavit sealed. Justice Department lawyers argue releasing the probable cause affidavit, which contains evidence and information justifying its issuance, would severely damage the government’s ongoing criminal investigation.
Trump, on the other hand, has called for the immediate release of the full, unredacted affidavit.
“There is no way to justify the unannounced RAID of Mar-a-Lago, the home of the 45th President of the United States (who got more votes, by far, than any sitting President in the history of our Country!), by a very large number of gun-toting FBI Agents, and the Department of ‘Justice,” former President Donald Trump posted on his Truth Social account. “But, in the interest of TRANSPARENCY, I call for the immediate release of the completely unredacted affidavit pertaining to this horrible and shocking BREAK-IN.”
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