March 26, 2023

An affidavit released on Friday provides evidence for the FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, albeit heavily redacted, showing that Trump has highly protected information about human beings. Intelligence Gathered Information – The agency has reason to believe he is trying to obstruct the investigation of the records.

This 38 page affidavit Designed to support the government’s request for a search warrant executed on Aug. 8, and to provide greater insight into the timeline of events leading up to the search.Ministry of Justice made search warrant Made public on Aug. 12; the document indicates the search was in support of an investigation into Trump under the Espionage Act, along with two other federal statutes — obstruction of justice and the destruction or concealment of federal records.

Although the affidavit was heavily redacted to protect the investigation and protect the identities of witnesses, it still provided new information. Crucially, the affidavit states that of the 15 boxes of documents returned to the National Archives in January of this year, there were “184 unique documents marked by classification, including 67 documents marked classified and 92 classified as classified. , and 25 were marked as top secret.”

The affidavit noted that some of the documents could contain extremely sensitive information about intelligence-gathering activities that could reveal information about the identities of foreign nationals spying for the United States and information intercepted from foreign intelligence.

One memorandum Evidence that the redactions to the affidavit also show that “a large number of civilian witnesses” are cooperating with the investigation; in addition to “law enforcement officers,” the redactions protect their “security and privacy,” as well as protect the integrity of ongoing investigations, according to the memo.In court proceedings to decide whether to publish affidavits and how many to publish, the court sided with the government, ruling that publishing much of the affidavit would subject the investigation to possible obstacles and threats, citing a belief that obstacles have occurred, as well as increased threats to FBI personnel since the Aug. 8 raid.

Burden of Proof for Execution of Warrants

An affidavit is not an indictment; its purpose is simply to identify possible reasons for executing a search warrant. The affidavit itself makes this clear, saying “it does not list every fact that the investigation has uncovered so far”. The purpose of the affidavit is only to meet a reasonable threshold to justify a search of the former president’s residence.

Much of the evidence is still under seal, however, As a letter of May 10 From acting U.S. archivist Debra Steidel Wall to Trump attorney Evan Corcoran, 15 boxes the government recovered in January Contains hundreds of pages Documents marked confidential, up to the level of Special Access Procedures (SAP) – security protocols that severely restrict access to some of the government’s most sensitive information. These documents are related to “newspapers, magazines, printed news articles, photographs, miscellaneous printouts, notes, presidential letters, [and] personal and post-presidential records,” according to the affidavit.

In addition, evidence presented in the affidavit indicates that at least some of the records discussed covert human intelligence operations — espionage — as Julian E. Barnes and Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times Written on Friday. If information about these sources, what they collect, and how they collect it falls into unauthorized hands, it could jeopardize not only U.S. intelligence gathering, but the lives of those spying on behalf of the United States.

Despite Trump’s claim that he has a standing order to declassify information at Mar-a-Lago, such documents will be labeled HCS Human Intelligence Control System; the system is closely guarded to ensure the integrity of the information, technology and people used to collect it Safety. “It would be reckless to declassify HCS files without checking with the agency that collected the information to ensure that the disclosure would not cause harm,” said John Bellinger III, a former legal counsel to the National Security Council. tell the times.

While such documents may be general, sometimes they contain more specific information about human intelligence sources and the information they provide – increasing the likelihood of identifying human sources. “The more sensitive the information, the fewer suspects or technical loopholes an adversary investigates,” said a former CIA official and counterterrorism official under Trump, Douglas London told The Times.

Both the affidavit and the Justice Department memo also raised the possibility that Trump and his associates were trying to obstruct the administration’s retrieval of sensitive documents — and they could try to similarly obstruct the Justice Department’s investigation. regulations covering obstacles, Chapter 1519, according to Georgetown University law professor Julie O’Sullivan, could put Trump and his team at greater risk. As Trump claims he has declassified documents in his possession, O’Sullivan told The Times“he basically admitted that he knew he had the documents” and had been “obstructing their return”, refusing to hand them over.

What’s next for Trump?

As Vox’s Ian Millhiser previously explained, the FBI’s investigation of the Mar-a-Lago records is just one of four major criminal investigations currently involving Trump.

DOJ investigation into Jan. 6, 2021 uprising leads to federal charges over 830 participants; some defendants face extremely serious sentence. Although, as Mill Heather writes, it’s unclear whether the Justice Department is investigating Trump’s role in the unrest, “Congressional and judicial officials have said Trump is likely to violate at least a Two federal criminal statutes—one that protects Congress from interference and the other that prohibits conspiracy to defraud the state.” Like other investigations, the investigation is ongoing and no charges have been brought against Trump himself.

The Trump campaign’s efforts to overturn the 2020 Georgia presidential election are also under investigation, particularly after the campaign recruited 16 fake voters who falsely claimed that Georgia’s Electoral College voted for Trump. The 16 could face criminal charges, as could another target of the investigation, former New York City mayor and Trump insider Rudy Giuliani.

The office of Fulton County District Attorney Fanny Willis is also eyeing Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for his involvement in an attempt to overturn the Georgia election result.Graham has been subpoenaed to testify on two phone calls with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffinsburg, in which Graham allegedly “asked Secretary Ravensberg and his staff about the Re-examination of certain absentee ballots To explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump, cast in Georgia,” According to court documents Prove the requirement for Graham to testify.

again, although Trump has yet to face charges in the Georgia case, where he can go under two Georgia laws. one The statute makes it an offence for someone to knowingly interfere with “any voter roll, voter certificate, voter numbering list, ballot box, voting machine, direct-recording electronic (DRE) device, or tabulating machine.” Another Georgia statute prohibits “Criminal solicitation for electoral fraud,” Millheater wrote.

Trump’s businesses are also the subject of a criminal investigation in New York State, where Attorney General Letitia James is investigating whether the Trump Organization committed fraud, inflating the value of business assets when seeking bank loans, or claiming to tax officials that the company A lower value evades its tax liability. James’ office ousted Trump in early August, But he defended the Fifth Amendment — protecting himself from self-incrimination — more than 400 times during his testimony. If the investigation finds that Trump’s business is repeatedly guilty of fraud or other crimes, James has the option to demand that his business be basically dissolved, but this is a civil case, not a criminal case — meaning it can’t be settled in Trump’s indictment end.

As far as Mar-a-Lago’s records are concerned, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines wrote in a letter to lawmakers Friday that her office is assessing “the potential national security implications of disclosing relevant documents.” risks of”, politics’s Andrew Desiderio and Nicholas Wu reported Saturday. Among other things, the probe could determine whether people without proper access to highly sensitive documents could do so while at Trump’s residence. Given the Justice Department’s concerns about the lack of security at Mar-a-Lago, and reports from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, this is not impossible (OCCRP) Last year, a con man posing as a member of the Rothschild banking family entered Mar-a-Lago and Trump himself.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) and Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) also requested to see documents removed from Mar-a-Lago, suggesting Congress is interested in understanding the type of information Trump is hoarding — and the implications for the intelligence community of mishandling such information. Even if the FBI has now deleted all federal records at Mar-a-Lago, the investigation is expected to be protracted and unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.

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