Redacted Trump Raid Affidavit Doesn't Tell Us Much

The published affidavit on former president Donald Trump, which led to the FBI raid, is heavily redacted and fails to clarify the Department of Justice’s methods and motives.

The affidavit authorized the unprecedented raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. After public outcry and demands from Trump, the judge who approved the raid ordered to release a redacted affidavit. The vast majority of the document, 24 of 38 pages, was censored.

Why the redactions? According to the affidavit, the redactions were used to protect “a broad range of civilian witnesses.” Some analysts suggest that this could mean some Trump allies were providing information to the FBI. Others suggest it’s just protocol for protecting witnesses and other intelligence officials before a trial.

Confirmed what we already knew: The affidavit stated that Trump had almost 200 “classified” documents at Mar-a-Lago back in January. It also noted that the Justice Department believed Trump and his allies were obstructing the National Archives from retrieving classified documents.

Key questions left unanswered:

  • Is there any other accusation besides the mishandling of classified documents?

  • What does the agency think Trump’s intent was behind keeping these documents?

  • What exactly were the documents about?

Big picture: It’s unclear how serious the case is against Trump without answers to these questions. As it stands, the case rests on Trump’s mishandling of classified information, but many analysts don’t believe that this alone is worthy of an indictment, considering the presidential powers to declassify documents.