The Justice Department just released a redacted version of the Donald Trump Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit in which it claimed to have probable cause to search the estate and seize classified information that the former President allegedly unlawfully maintained.
According to the affidavit, the FBI believed it had probable cause based on documents Trump had previously provided to the National Archives. A review of those materials showed Trump had taken with him from the White House "highly classified records," including 25 documents marked "TOP SECRET." The FBI claims Trump produced many of the documents "unfoldered, intermixed with other records."
The FBI believed, however, based on information obtained from witnesses that there were significant additional documents he had not turned over. The names and information provided by those witnesses are redacted from the affidavit that's been released publicly, so it's impossible to know exactly what information the FBI acted upon.
Since the Mar-a-Lago raid, The DOJ and Trump had been duking it out publicly over the release of the search warrant affidavit, which laid out the government's case for probable cause that a crime was committed.
Trump initially told the media he supported the DOJ release of the warrant -- unredacted. Trump's lawyers, however, never made the argument in court, instead remaining mum on whether or not the affidavit should be released.
In his court order Thursday, Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart ordered the affidavit released, but sided with the DOJ allowing it to redact significant portions of the affidavit because "disclosure would reveal the identities of witnesses, law enforcement agents, and uncharged parties."
Dozens of FBI agents executed the warrant on August 8, descending on Mar-a-Lago and carting away dozens of boxes of potentially classified documents Trump took from the White House after losing the election.
Court documents revealed the boxes contained 11 sets of classified records -- some marked top secret and "sensitive compartmented information". Trump blasted the FBI on his Truth Social platform, grousing that during the search, agents had broken into his safe and searched Melania's closet, leaving it a "mess."
The day he left office, 45 took the boxes of sensitive materials with him back to Mar-a-Lago. Since then, he and his lawyers have been in a tug of war of sorts with the National Archives and Records Administration over the return of the documents to the government.
At one point earlier in the year, Trump returned 15 boxes of White House records to the National Archives ... launching the Justice Department investigation into what else he might have kept. The National Archives claims, in total, Trump took over 700 pages of classified documents.