A federal judge unveiled additional portions of an FBI affidavit outlining the basis for a search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home on Tuesday, revealing that agents obtained a hard drive after issuing a subpoena for surveillance footage recorded inside Mar-a-Lago.
Last month, a heavily redacted version of the affidavit was made public, but the Justice Department requested permission to show more of it after Trump’s lawyers revealed the existence of a June grand jury subpoena seeking video footage from cameras near the Mar-a-Lago storage room.
“Because those aspects of the grand jury’s investigation have now been publicly revealed, there is no longer any reason to keep them sealed (i.e. redacted) in the filings in this matter,” department lawyers wrote.
The newly visible portions of the FBI agent’s affidavit show that the FBI subpoenaed the footage on June 24 following a visit to Mar-a-Lago weeks earlier in which agents observed 50 to 55 boxes of records in the property’s storage room. According to the affidavit, the Trump Organization provided a hard drive in response to the subpoena on July 6.
The video could be crucial to the investigation, especially in determining whether anyone tried to obstruct the investigation. The Justice Department has said in a separate filing that it has “developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed from the Storage Room and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation.”
After Trump left the White House, the Justice Department started an investigation into the storage of top-secret information and other classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. During their search of the home and club on August 8, FBI agents recovered more than 11,000 documents and 1,800 other items, including approximately 100 with classification markings.
Separately on Tuesday, the Justice Department urged U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon to release key aspects of the investigation. Cannon last week granted the Trump team’s request for an independent arbiter to review the seized documents and weed out any records that may be covered by claims of the executive or attorney-client privilege from the investigation.
She also ordered the department to halt its review of the records pending any further court orders or the completion of the yet-to-be-named special master’s review. The department urged Cannon last week to stay her order and told the judge on Tuesday that a continued delay in its ability to review classified documents would jeopardize its investigation.
“The government and the public unquestionably have an interest in the timely enforcement of criminal laws, particularly those involving the protection of highly sensitive information, and especially where, as here, there may have been efforts to obstruct its investigation,” the lawyers wrote.
On Monday, the Trump team urged the judge to maintain her order. His lawyers questioned the current classification status of the documents and noted that a president has absolute authority to declassify information, though they made clear that Trump had not declassified anything.