Federal judge sets hearing on motion to unseal Trump search warrant affidavit

·Senior Writer
·4 min read

The federal judge in Florida who approved the warrant for the FBI to search former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate has scheduled a Thursday hearing on a motion to unseal the affidavit that prosecutors used to secure it.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart set the 1 p.m. hearing for both sides to present arguments over whether to publicly release the search warrant affidavit, court records showed on Tuesday.

The Justice Department opposes the disclosure of the affidavit because prosecutors say it would compromise the ongoing investigation into Trump’s handling of classified materials.

“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,” prosecutors wrote in a filing on Monday.

An aerial view of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate shows several large buildings and a swimming pool.
Former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Fla. (Marco Bello/Reuters)

The Justice Department also argued that the affidavit’s publication would harm prosecutors’ ability to interview additional witnesses. “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,” it wrote. Multiple news organizations have asked Reinhart to unseal the affidavit despite objections by the Justice Department.

Trump is calling for the release of the affidavit — and for Reinhart to recuse himself from overseeing the case.

“In the interest of TRANSPARENCY, I call for the immediate release of the completely Unredacted Affidavit pertaining to this horrible and shocking BREAK-IN,” Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social, his social media platform. “Also, the Judge on this case should recuse!”

Since approving the search of Mar-a-Lago, Reinhart — who is Jewish — has been the target of threats and antisemitic comments online.

Last week Politico reported that Reinhart, a board member at Temple Beth David in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., has “seen sustained antisemitic attacks on right wing message boards and other social media platforms like 4Chan” since signing off on the FBI’s warrant to search Mar-a-Lago.

An itemized receipt for property seized at Mar-a-Lago reads, in part: 15A - Miscellaneous Secret Documents.
An itemized receipt for property seized by the FBI at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

On Friday, Reinhart unsealed a search warrant and property receipt from the FBI’s search, which both the government and Trump’s lawyers agreed should be public. The documents showed that agents seized nearly two dozen boxes from Trump’s home, including 11 sets of classified records and some that were labeled “top secret,” the highest level of classification reserved for the most closely held U.S. national security information.

According to the inventory of the materials seized in the search, there were some marked “classified/TS/SCI,” shorthand for “top secret/sensitive compartmented information,” or documents deemed so secret that they require a secure facility in which to view them.

The warrant indicated that the former president is under investigation for several potential crimes, including possible violations of the Espionage Act and potential obstruction of justice charges.

Trump has claimed without evidence that the investigation is a politically motivated “weaponization” of the Justice Department; suggested that the FBI “planted” evidence; and insisted that he had a “standing order” to declassify documents that left the Oval Office for his residence.

Former President Donald Trump waves as he walks to a waiting car.
Trump departs Trump Tower on Aug. 10, two days after FBI agents searched Mar-a-Lago. (David “Dee” Delgado/Reuters)

The attacks by the former president and his allies on the FBI over its search have led to threats against federal agents, and prompted the DOJ to issue a bulletin to warn law enforcement of such threats.

Last week a man who appears to have posted on Truth Social about wanting to kill federal agents was killed by police after allegedly firing a nail gun into an FBI field office in Cincinnati.

A DOJ bulletin released Friday said that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have seen an increase in “violent threats” against law enforcement since the search of Trump’s property.

In an interview Monday, Trump said he would be willing to do whatever he can to bring the “temperature” down — while continuing to attack the FBI.

“They could take anything they want, and put anything they want in,” he said.