In the wake of the FBI’s raid of former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence earlier this month, pundits speculated that Trump administration insiders must have provided information that allowed the Justice Department to secure a search warrant.
According to an article in The New York Times this week, several Trump officials sat down for interviews with the FBI ahead of the Aug. 8 raid. Reporter Maggie Haberman named three of the individuals based on her communication with unnamed sources.
In the piece published on Tuesday, she wrote that former White House lawyers Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin as well as former White House staff secretary Derek Lyons were among those close to the former president who were interviewed by the FBI.
Federal agents were reportedly investigating Trump in connection with suspected violations of the Espionage Act for allegedly removing confidential documents from the White House. Haberman wrote that the raid resulted in the confiscation of boxes of papers, including letters from North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and former President Barack Obama.
The article was published just two days before Judge Bruce Reinhold was scheduled to hear arguments regarding whether the affidavit that paved the way for the Justice Department search warrant should be released.
For its part, the agency asserted that the affidavit should be kept under wraps. In a statement, the department advised that disclosing the document would “cause significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation.”
In a recent interview, Trump cited backlash against the FBI as a reason for the Justice Department to release the affidavit.
“There has never been a time like this where law enforcement has been used to break into the house of a former president of the United States, and there is tremendous anger in the country at a level that has never been seen before, other than during very perilous times,” the former president said.
A number of other prominent Republicans have similarly advocated for the affidavit to be unsealed.
It is imperative the Justice Department release the affidavit justifying the raid. After Crossfire Hurricane and the Mueller investigation there is no benefit of the doubt.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) August 15, 2022
A group of media companies found some rare common ground with Trump with a statement advising that the “affidavit of probable cause should be released to the public, with only those redactions that are necessary to protect a compelling interest articulated by the government.”