DOJ Releases Classified Documents

Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

On Thursday (August 25), Judge Bruce Reinhart announced he would be releasing a redacted version of the affidavit that lead to him approving a search warrant on former President Donald Trump.

The announcement came after Reinhart ordered the Department of Justice to propose redactions, after that department opposed the release of the affidavit, arguing that its release would
compromise their ongoing investigation.

The redactions, according to Reinhart, were sufficiently narrow.

Reinhart wrote, “I find that the Government has met its burden of showing a compelling reason/good cause to seal portions of the Affidavit.”

His ruling noted that the DOJ had adequately redacted portions that would reveal the identities of law enforcement agents, uncharged parties, and witnesses, in addition to the investigation’s directory, scope, and strategy.

Reinhart had previously warned that redactions shouldn’t be so broad it would make the release of the affidavit “meaningless,” adding that if the reactions were too extensive it would make him less inclined to force the affidavit’s disclosure.

Reinhart continued, “I cannot say at this point that partial redactions will be so extensive that they will result in a meaningless disclosure, but I may ultimately reach that conclusion after hearing further from the government.”

Thursday’s ruling also gleaned what would be revealed in the disclosure of the affidavit, ultimately deciding its disclosure would be “the least onerous alternative to sealing the entire affidavit.”

It’s unusual for an affidavit to be unsealed far before a trial, even rarer when charges hadn’t been filed.