The affadavit is out. I’ve been listening to MSNBC, where a panel of security/legal experts has been reading and interpreting the affadavit in real time.
They’re talking a lot about obstruction of justice. At one point the affadavit says there is evidence of obstruction within Mar-a-Lago. They’re talking a lot about “signal intelligence” and “human sources,” which I understand refers to top secret expionage and the identities of spies still working as spies.
Large parts of the affadavit are redacted. The affadavit was accompanied by another document explaining the redactions, which itself contained redactions. This was to protect the identies of witnesses as well as methodologies being used in an ongoing criminal investigation. This ain’t over.
Emails, documents and interviews show that the search followed months of conflict between the former president and law enforcement agencies about getting the documents — which are protected under the Presidential Records Act — into the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration.
The search intensified Trump’s long-standing animus toward the Justice Department and the FBI. Senior government officials say the investigation and search were necessary to prevent grave damage to national security.
The affadavit also juxtaposes events in this investigation with some of Trump’s public statements, including on Truth Social, that reveals (as if we didn’t know) Trump was lying his ass off. For example, after the recovery of 15 boxes of documents in January 2022, Trump “truthed” that “The National Archives did not ‘find’ anything, they were given, upon request, Presidential Records in an ordinary and routine process to ensure the preservation of my legacy and in accordance with the Presidential Recordds Act.” But that was bullshit, because the feds had been asking for this stuff since May 2021, and Trump was still hanging on to highly sensitive classified material after this.
Seriously. This is like asking the teenage kid to stop playing Minecraft and do his homework 27 times. And then after some number of hours, when you finally confiscate the Gameboy, he whines “that’s so unfaaaaaair. I was gonna do my homework as soon as I got the magic shovel of power” or whatever they do in Minecraft.
In June 2022, the archivists told Trump he needed to leave the documents remaining at Mar-a-Lago to be kept in their current location “until further notice.” No moving them around. Trump interpreted this to mean they were okay with him keeping the documents as long as he put a padlock on the basement door, which he did, but really the feds were thinking in terms of preserving evidence until they were able to retrieve the boxes. I infer this is when the feds began to put together a case for a warrant, so they could just come and take it all and stop playing the bleeping moron’s ego games.
The wonder isn’t that the DoJ got a search warrant; the wonder is why the DoJ didn’t get a search warrant a whole lot sooner.
In the affadavit, Trump is referred to as FPOTUS. We’ll be charitable and assume the F is for “former.”
I’ll link to more comments as they become available.
Update: Greg Sargent, 3 Big Things We Learned from the Mar-a-Lago Affadavit. The three things are:
- “Trump improperly hoarded a large amount of documents, including ones potentially identifying human intelligence sources.”
- “This could get much bigger.” It’s clear from the affadavit that this is an ongoing investigation, and there’s a lot the DoJ doesn’t yet know.
- “Trump’s conspiracy-theorizing is baloney.” But you know that.