‘SEE YOU IN COURT’: Federal Judge to Consider Unsealing Mar-a-Lago Search Affidavit

A federal judge is set to hear arguments Thursday on whether to unseal the Mar-a-Lago search affidavit.


A federal judge is set to hear arguments Thursday on whether to unseal the Mar-a-Lago search affidavit.

  • The affidavits unsealing would reveal the FBI’s justification for the Mar-a-Lago search and the underlying materials – witnesses, evidence, and investigators’ conclusions – that led the FBI to conclude they had probable cause to search Mar-a-Lago.
  • Former President Donald Trump and prominent news organizations support the affidavit’s release, while the Justice Department is opposed.
  • The search was part of a Justice Department investigation into whether Trump illegally removed documents after leaving office, including possible violations of the Espionage Act.
  • On Wednesday, former Vice President Mike Pence condemned right-wing attacks on the FBI and calls to defund the FBI over the search of Mar-a-Lago, calling it “just as wrong” as Democratic calls to “defund the police.”


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • The New York Times evaluated several theories behind why Trump resisted returning federal documents for the 18 months leading to the search of Mar-a-Lago. Their top possibilities: the documents made for exciting souvenirs; Trump’s belief that because he was president federal property was thus his; and that the papers contained personal information.
  • The Washington Post quoted the Justice Department’s argument for keeping the affidavit sealed. “Even when the public is already aware of the general nature of the investigation, revealing the specific contents of a search warrant affidavit could alter the investigation’s trajectory, reveal ongoing and future investigative efforts,” the DOJ court filing stated.
  • POLITICO explored “the frantic, final days of record-keeping that landed Trump in hot water.” Trump’s refusal to concede defeat in the 2020 election delayed the transition and turned the White House move-out process into a virtual free-for-all in the final days of the administration.



  • National Review’s Andy McCarthy warned readers “don’t hold your breath waiting” for the affidavit’s release and noted Trump’s support for releasing the affidavit is “unusual” for a person under FBI investigation but that stance helps Trump in “the court of public opinion.”
  • The Washington Examiner published an editorial calling on Judge Bruce Reinhart to unseal the Mar-a-Lago affidavit. The Examiner wrote, “While not every detail in the affidavit needs to be revealed, shining light on a contentious debate, which has been made more divisive by the Department of Justice’s secrecy on the matter, could calm emotions and restore credibility to institutions that have recently made significant errors in judgment.”
  • FOX News spoke with legal experts who urged Judge Reinhart to release the affidavit. Law professor Jonathan Turley argued for increased DOJ transparency to protect the Department of Justice’s credibility in investigating a political rival of President Joe Biden.

Author’s Take

Former President Trump and media organizations from across the political spectrum are right. Federal judge Bruce Reinhart should unseal the affidavit – or at least large portions – at this afternoon’s hearing. An FBI search of a former president’s home is unprecedented. The Justice Department’s actions in the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the Trump-Russia investigation have damaged the department’s credibility with vast swaths of the public. The DOJ must support transparency to restore public trust.

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© Dominic Moore, 2022