U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who reportedly approved the sealed search warrant for Monday’s FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach County, Florida, has just ordered the Department of Justice to respond to motions to unseal the warrant that led to the unprecedented action.
The judge issued the order for the DOJ to “file a Response to the Motion to Unseal” after efforts led by the Times Union of Albany, New York, and conservative legal advocates at Judicial Watch requested that he make the warrants public.
“Given the political context, and the highly unusual action of executing a search warrant at the residence of a former President and likely future political opponent, it is essential that the public understands as soon as possible the basis for the government’s action. Any government interest in securing the identities of witnesses and confidential sources, if any, may be addressed by appropriate redactions from the search warrant affidavit,” Judicial Watch wrote in its motion to the court.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton has been vocal in his criticism of the Mar-a-Lago raid.
“In my view this is a raid that will go down in infamy. The Biden Administration has crossed the Rubicon in terms of attacking President Trump and their political opponents by misusing law enforcement.” -Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton WATCH FULL: https://t.co/GGhxUwcIXn pic.twitter.com/0BksoQDx5S
— Judicial Watch ⚖️ (@JudicialWatch) August 9, 2022
Rather than a legal motion, the Times Union’s Managing Editor Brendan J. Lyons sent a formal written request to Reinhart.
He wrote to Reinhart reasoning that, “In this case, the apparent subject of the search, Donald J. Trump, has full knowledge that the FBI searched his residence and that items, including business records and files, were seized. Federal authorities shared a copy of the search warrant with Mr. Trump’s attorney(s), who have stated publicly that the warrant referred to ‘classified information’ and the ‘Presidential Records Act.'”
“Given that the search warrant(s) have been executed, and the target of that search has full knowledge of what occurred, there is no impediment to any ongoing investigation from the disclosure of the search warrant order or the returns. As such, these records should be unsealed,” he concluded.
According to the Washington Examiner, Reinhard said the DOJ’s response may be filed “ex parte and under seal as necessary to avoid disclosing matters already under seal,” which would allow the government to keep some matters secret. However, he wrote, the “Government shall file a redacted Response in the public record,” so at least the public will know what is not being released.
Reinhard gave the DOJ until Monday to respond, according to Fox News.
In an interview with The Western Journal’s WJ Live on Wednesday, Tim Head, executive director of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, warned that what he referred to as “witchhunts” and “fishing expeditions” like the Mar-a-Lago raid are “incredibly dangerous both societally as well as politically.”
“Because this is, unfortunately, what totalitarian regimes have done, really for hundreds of years, but especially in the last couple of hundred years. As we’ve seen, in Chinese scenarios and in Russian scenarios and in Cuban scenarios, Venezuelan scenarios, this is an incredibly dangerous and, frankly, kind of a slippery slope I would argue.”
In the aftermath of the Mar-a-Lago raid, multiple reports have connected Reinhart to the prosecution of Jeffrey Epstein and the defense of his co-conspirators in 2007-08. Since these stories have gained traction on social media, Reinhart’s official webpage on the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida has been updated to show “Access Denied” to unauthorized viewers.
Reinhart also chose to recuse himself from the ongoing lawsuit between Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Convention in June.
Biden administration officials have maintained that they did not have prior notice of the FBI’s actions. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre refused to answer whether or not the White House is “weaponizing the Justice Department and the FBI against political opponents?”
DOOCY: “Is this White House weaponizing the Justice Department and the FBI against political opponents?”
Karine Jean-Pierre dodges and REFUSES to say no pic.twitter.com/3UtjNfTgNO
— Benny Johnson 🍊 (@bennyjohnson) August 9, 2022
Multiple Republican members of Congress have condemned the raid, the DOJ, the FBI and the Biden administration for allowing the action to go forward and have demanded that Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray provide answers.
“Merrick Garland, Chris Wray – come to the House judiciary Committee this Friday and answer our questions about this action, which has never happened in American history.”
— House Republicans (@HouseGOP) August 10, 2022
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, the Ohio Republican, told Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Monday, “Merrick Garland, Chris Wray – come to the House Judiciary Committee this Friday and answer our questions about this action, which has never happened in American history.”