Ex-chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and current Republican congressman from California, Devin Nunes, has ratcheted up speculation regarding the leak of the affidavit that formed the basis for the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago.
Former congressman and current CEO of Trump’s social media firm Devin Nunes has predicted leaks “in the coming weeks” and a protracted legal struggle, during which the Justice Dept would “slow-roll” the revelation of information, which, in his view, only adds to the unease of Trump’s detractors.
“Before this thing is ever even put out to the public, you can bet that there will be a leak,” he told Newsmax host Rob Schmitt on Friday. He said a major leak would occur the night before, and everyone would react to it as if it were “the worst thing ever.” Nunes speculated that additional individuals would say things like “Trump’s going to be indicted,” implying that a leak might again include “nuclear secrets,” pointing to a story that already came from the FBI raid, further raising national security worries. He added, “That’s what’s coming for the American people. I promise you.“
Based on the unsealed search warrant records that have been disclosed, FBI investigators uncovered several confidential info (all of which, based on what we know, have been declassified) during their search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on August 8. Some of these materials were allegedly classified at the highest level. The erstwhile president is being looked at for alleged Espionage Act crimes and obstruction of justice, as evidenced by the released warrant.
Republicans and Trump have denied wrongdoing and complained that they had not seen the document explaining the basis for the search. Trump called for the affidavit’s “immediate release” on Truth Social, saying it was “in the interest of TRANSPARENCY.“
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The Department of Justice said there would be “irreparable harm” to the ongoing criminal investigation if the affidavit were made public. This would include threats to witnesses and a reduced willingness to cooperate. On Friday, Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart ordered that he would release (with redactions) the legal cover document for the search warrant, the DOJ’s application to seal the court order and affidavit, and the earlier court order sealing those papers. As for the document itself, Reinhart said he might unseal it in part and gave the Justice Department until next Thursday to submit a suggested redacted version of the raid affidavit.
Any REDACTIONS of the AFFIDAVIT for the RAID at Mar-a-Lago will lead to SPECUALTION, Misinformation, and unconfirmed leaks from both sides…
THIS IS MUCH MORE DANGEROUS FOR THIS COUNTRY THAN RELEASING THE AFFIDVIT..
— Chuck Callesto (@ChuckCallesto) August 18, 2022
A CNN story from last week said that Trump is considering releasing video surveillance from the Mar-a-Lago search, adding to the excitement surrounding the extraordinary raid.
Based on his time in Congress examining the Trump-Russia probe, Nunes said that he believes the Justice Department would “doctor” the “result” by withholding evidence, as expected.
On Sunday, his replacement as head of the House Intelligence Committee, Democrat Adam Schiff of California, discussed what may be gleaned from the affidavit and expressed reservations about the consequences of exposing too much.
“You could learn what witnesses may have seen in terms of the handling of those documents or people coming and going from where the documents were located. You could learn about whether representations were made that proved to be false, in terms of whether they had given up the classified information. You could learn a great deal,” Schiff said on State of the Union. “That’s just the problem, though, for the Justice Department. I think probably their concern is very legitimate. That is that, if this affidavit is revealed, it will put those sources of information at risk.“
According to Schiff, who said there is “genuine” public interest in this matter, the timing of an affidavit revelation is also crucial. “I think the Justice Department makes a powerful case that, at the early stage of the investigation, when it could jeopardize the pursuit of justice, this is not the time to be giving essentially the Trump lawyers a road map into how to intimidate witnesses or how to derail a legitimate investigation,” he said.