By Jack Phillips
A lawyer representing former President Donald Trump and a former FBI official both expressed doubts that the affidavit used to seek an FBI search warrant for last week’s Mar-a-Lago raid will be unsealed by a judge on Thursday.
“I don’t think anybody wants to unseal this thing inside the government,” Chris Swecker, a former assistant director of the FBI, told Fox News on Wednesday, adding that he doubts “very seriously you’re going to see this unsealed tomorrow.”
The former official was making reference to a hearing that was scheduled by U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart for Thursday about whether the affidavit should be unsealed. The Department of Justice on Monday filed court papers arguing that it should not because releasing it to the public will damage their investigation.
But former Trump and other Republicans argue it should be released because it would show why the FBI took the unprecedented and extraordinary step of raiding the home of a former president and possible 2024 candidate.
Revealing the affidavit, they argue, would provide more insight into what the Department of Justice is trying to investigate and lay out reasons for why the raid was carried out. On Aug. 12, Reinhart issued an order to unseal the FBI search warrant and property receipt.
A lawyer for Trump, Alina Habba, echoed Swecker’s assertion that it appears unlikely the judge will unseal the affidavit on Thursday during a recent Fox News interview.
“Judge Reinhart is the same magistrate judge that recused himself from my Hillary Clinton case about a month ago. He is definitely not going to be a friendly judge necessarily. I would say it was highly unlikely,” Habba said, noting that the “DOJ is already saying that they do not want us to see what was in the affidavit.”
“Usually, that’s to protect witnesses and other things that have been cooperating with the justice system. So while I would love to see it and understand why you would ask for a raid with a cooperating president, do I believe that this judge is going to reveal it? No, I do not,” she said.
The Justice Department and the FBI have remained mostly silent regarding the raid, with Attorney General Merrick Garland issuing a statement during a news conference on Aug. 11. Garland said he personally authorized the warrant for the FBI raid but provided little to no insight about why it was carried out or what was taken from Trump’s home.
In statements posted on Truth Social, Trump wrote that FBI agents took three of his passports and demanded their return. A spokesperson for the former president confirmed on social media this week that the travel documents were handed back.
An FBI spokesperson told The Epoch Times that the passports were returned and attempted to suggest that the move is routine.
“In executing search warrants, the FBI follows search and seizure procedures ordered by courts, then returns items that do not need to be retained for law enforcement purposes,” the FBI official said.