Judge sets one-week countdown for Garland to make redactions in Mar-A-Lago affidavit

The federal judge who signed the warrant for the unprecedented raid of former President Trump’s home has decided to partially release the affidavit explaining the government’s reasoning for the extraordinary move.

Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart has given Merrick Garland one week to make redactions in the affidavit, the New York Post reported.

Mar-A-Lago judge sets a deadline for Garland

The case had been brought, ironically enough, by anti-Trump media outlets including the New York Times and Washington Post. A lawyer for the media organizations argued that the historic magnitude of the raid calls for total transparency.

“The public interest could not be greater into the transparency of this proceeding,” the lawyer, Charles Tobin, told the judge. “You cannot trust what you cannot see.”

Former President Trump has also called for the “immediate release” of the unredacted affidavit so the American people can understand “this horrible and shocking BREAK-IN.”

The DOJ has argued that sharing the files would compromise the investigation, but at a hearing Thursday, Reinhart said that the affidavit could be made at least partially available to the public. He gave the DOJ until August 25 to make redactions.

“I believe — at least on my initial careful review of the affidavit — that there are portions that could be presumptively unsealed,” the judge said.

DOJ says transparency would be dangerous

A search warrant that Reinhart unsealed last week showed that Trump was under investigation for violating the Espionage Act. The feds reportedly seized, among other items, so-called “top secret” files.

Trump has dismissed speculation that he was keeping nuclear secrets as another anti-Trump “hoax.” The raid has energized the right, with many seeing it as a thuggish crackdown by Joe Biden on his top political rival.

The DOJ’s counterintelligence chief Jay Bratt told Reinhart that releasing the affidavit would inflame a “volatile” scenario and put key witnesses in danger.

“This is a volatile situation with respect to this search across the political spectrum — but on one side in particular,” he said.

Attorney general Merrick Garland last week confirmed he had approved the raid and blasted those “unfairly” attacking the DOJ’s integrity, but the public has yet to hear the government’s justification for the raid, something the affidavit could help clear up.

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