Search warrant in FBI raid on Trump compound cites Espionage Act

The warrant used in the FBI search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago compound was unsealed Friday, revealing that the former president is being investigated by the Department of Justice (DoJ) for multiple crimes, including violating the Espionage Act, obstructing justice and destroying sensitive or classified government records.

The search warrant unsealed on Friday sought all “physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation of three potential crimes.”

The warrant and the inventory receipt of items recovered from Mar-a-Lago do not indicate a connection to the attempted coup of January 6, 2021, Trump’s fundamental crime against the democratic rights of the American people.

Neither Trump nor any of his co-conspirators has been prosecuted, let alone jailed, for mobilizing a fascist mob to storm the U.S. Capitol in a bid to overturn the election and seize dictatorial power.

Nevertheless, the fact that a former president is being investigated for felony crimes related to the Espionage Act in an expression of an unprecedented crisis of capitalist rule in the United States.

The 1917 Espionage Act has typically been used against socialists and others deemed enemies of US imperialism, such as WikiLeaks founder and former editor Julian Assange.

That these historically unprecedented events occur within three months of a national election—accompanied by increasing incidents of fascist violence—which could hand control of Congress to Trump’s accomplices in the Republican Party, speaks to the growing instability of the entire political system.

The warrant and property receipt were unsealed after lawyers for Trump did not file an objection to Attorney General Merrick Garland’s motion on Thursday to unseal the document. Garland announced the motion when he made his first public comment on the FBI raid.

Attorney General Merrick Garland [AP Photo/Andrew Harnik]

Trump and his fascist allies responded to the FBI raid by immediately going on the offensive, denouncing the Biden administration for “weaponizing” the Justice Department and portraying the would-be dictator Trump as the defender of the Constitution. The entire party leadership came to his defense, and fascist militia elements linked to Trump and the GOP posted threats of violent attacks, including murder, against Garland, Judge Reinhart, FBI Director Christopher Wray and others.

This was facilitated by the insistence of President Joe Biden that he had no foreknowledge of the raid and had not been briefed by Garland since it was carried out. Biden has continued his extraordinary silence, having gone on vacation in South Carolina.

Using the absurd pretext of non-interference in the affairs of the Justice Department, Biden has failed to endorse the FBI raid or declare support for Garland, even in the wake of an attack on an FBI field office outside of Cincinnati by an armed pro-Trump fascist.

Both he and Garland have avoided the central issue behind the raid—its connection to the January 6 attempted coup and Trump’s ongoing efforts to mobilize his fascist followers, with the backing of the Republican Party, to overthrow the government and install himself as dictator.

Biden is thereby continuing his coverup of the coup and concealing from the American people what his government knows about the ongoing and escalating threat to their democratic rights. He is instead seeking to maintain his alliance with a section of the Republican Party in furtherance of war against Russia and war preparations against China.

As of this writing, the probable cause affidavit filed by the DoJ to secure the search warrant from Florida Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart has not been unsealed, although multiple media organizations have requested it. The government has until 5:00 p.m. Monday to decide whether or not to unseal the affidavit, which provides a more detailed explanation of the factual basis for the warrant.

On Friday morning, prior to the release of the warrant, the Washington Post reported that the documents sought by the DoJ included highly sensitive nuclear secrets. The Post cited as its source “people familiar with the investigation,” that is, Justice Department officials authorized to leak information to the media.

Trump denounced the report as a witch-hunt and hoax, linking it to the Mueller investigation into his alleged ties to Russia.

The unsealed warrant revealed that FBI agents had been permitted to search Trump’s office and any “storage rooms and all other rooms or areas within the premises ... in which boxes or documents could be stored, including all structures or buildings on the estate.”

The items listed on the property receipt include 11 sets of classified records, ranging from the lowest classification level, “confidential,” all the way up to “TS/SCI,” or top secret/sensitive compartmented information.

The property receipt listed 39 different line items, nearly all of them with nondescript identifiers such as “Box labeled A-40,” “Miscellaneous Confidential Documents,” “Leatherbound (sic) box of documents” and “Binder of photos.”

One of the only items identified is the first item on the inventory list. Item 1 is listed as an “Executive Grant of Clemency re: Roger Jason Stone, Jr.” Stone, pardoned by Trump in December 2020, is a longtime political fixer for Trump with close ties to the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers militia groups that played leading roles in the January 6 coup attempt.