April 1, 2023

John Ratcliffe, the former director of national intelligence under President Donald Trump, said he saw no evidence in his heavily redacted Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit that the FBI and Justice Department took extreme” approach is justified.

Ratcliffe made the comments in an interview Friday with CBS News senior investigative reporter Kathryn Herridge.

“Well, as expected, it was heavily edited in some places,” Ratcliffe said, adding that Publication of editorial affidavit Friday. “You know, I think it provides the fact that the FBI and the Department of Justice believe there are classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. But I don’t see anything in the affidavit that justifies the fact that it still exists. If the documents are actually classified, then the FBI and DOJ seem to have taken an extreme approach to retrieving these documents.”

The affidavit states that there are “probable reasons” that obstruction evidence would be found at Mar-a-Lago, and “probable reasons to believe evidence, contraband, fruit of crime, or other items unlawfully possessed in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 793 (e), 2071 or 1519 will be found on the premises.”

Trump had urged the release of the affidavit, and several media outlets, including CBS News, had requested it. Ratcliffe, who will serve as Trump’s DNI from 2021 to 2021, said nothing he sees will help ease tensions in the country.

“I mean, I don’t think there’s anything out there that’s really going to ease the tension between this country and the American people about whether it’s justified,” Ratcliffe told Herridge. “Katherine, I think the FBI and the One of the unfortunate things about the DOJ’s approach is that if you start to deepen the divide among Americans and increase the level of suspicion or mistrust of the FBI and the DOJ, then they succeed based on vague regulations raided the former president.”

as CBS News previously reported, Under the Presidential Records Act, former presidents must turn over all presidential records to the National Archives and Records Administration at the end of their term. This includes confidential documents.

On August 8, FBI agents with the approval of Attorney General Merrick Garland conducted a search of Mar-a-Lago.They seized 11 sets of classified documents, according to unsealed search warrant.

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