Defense and National Security – DOJ Releases Redacted Affidavit in Trump Research
The Department of Justice (DOJ) released the long-awaited affidavit on Friday that convinced a federal judge to approve a search warrant at former President Trump’s Florida home.
We’ll dive deep into the mandate. Plus, we’ll talk about the one-year anniversary of the bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan that killed 13 US service members.
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Affidavit: 184 classified documents found at Trump compound
A redacted FBI affidavit used to convince a judge of a search warrant for former President Trump’s Florida home noted that authorities found 184 classified documents during their initial review of boxes recovered from the home in a effort that began only a few months after he left office.
Authorities’ concern that Trump may have additional national security information in his private residence was spurred by an examination of 15 boxes recovered by the National Archives in January.
Inside the affidavit: The affidavit states that of the 184 documents, 25 contained top secret information, including that obtained from “clandestine human sources”, information prohibited from sharing with foreign governments and information obtained by monitoring “foreign communication signals”. .
The 28-page affidavit contains numerous redactions but says authorities believed “evidence, contraband, proceeds of crime or other unlawfully possessed items” would be found at Mar-a-Lago.
Completely redacted is a provision explaining why the government believed that other [national defense information]would be at the scene.
What’s new? The affidavit offers new information on the extent of the saga to recover documents from Mar-a-Lago. The document says the National Archives first requested to retrieve documents as early as May 6, 2021 – just months after Trump left.
Yet it wasn’t until the end of the year that the Trump team alerted the Archives that they had 12 boxes ready for recovery. The agency would rather leave with 15.
Trump’s response: In a statement by Trump shortly after the affidavit was released, the former president called the document “a total FBI and DOJ public relations gimmick” that did not reflect “our close working relationship regarding the rotation.” documents – WE GAVE THEM A LOT”.
A few disclaimers: Trump was not charged in connection with the search and the affidavit does not name him as having potentially violated various laws, instead indicating that evidence of violations can be found at the premises.
Trump had requested the release of the warrant and affidavit. He filed a separate case, however, seeking an injunction to block the FBI’s investigation and asking a court to appoint a special master for the case. This would allow a court-approved outside party to first review the evidence gathered in the search before the FBI can review it.
Check out another cover of the affidavit:
Biden celebrates one year since the deadly Afghan bombing
President Biden on Friday marked the anniversary of the “heinous” terror attack amid the US withdrawal from Afghanistan that killed 13 US service members and dozens of civilians.
Biden released a statement in which he recognized each of the 13 US service members by name. They died last year in a suicide bombing outside Kabul airport amid chaotic attempts to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan.
What Biden said: “Today I pray for the families of these 13 fallen warriors, who lost a piece of their souls a year ago. Our nation will never be able to repay such an incredible sacrifice, but we will never fail to honor our sacred obligation to the families and survivors they left behind,” Biden said Friday.
“I also carry in my heart all those who have lost their child, partner, parent, brother, sister, loved one or fellow soldier during our two decades of war in Afghanistan. 2,461 American soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice. 20,744 were injured, as many whose lives are forever marked by their wounds. It is a painful reminder that there is nothing cheap or low in war for those we ask to fight for us.
Who is dead? The attack, which has been attributed to a branch of the ISIS terror group, killed Marine Corps Master Sgt. Darin T. Hoover; Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario; Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee; Marine Corps Corporal. Hunter Lopez; Marine Corps Corporal. Daegan W. Page; Marine Corps Corporal. Humberto A. Sanchez; Marine Corps Spear. David L. Espinoza; Marine Corps Spear. Jared M. Schmitz; Marine Corps Spear. Rylee J. McCollum; Marine Corps Spear. Dylan R. Merola; Marine Corps Spear. Kareem M. Nikoui; Navy Petty Officer Third Class Maxton W. Soviak; and Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss.
A low point: The terror attack at Abbey Gate in Kabul a year ago is widely seen as the low point of Biden’s first term by administration officials. It also served as a flashpoint for criticism of his decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan after about 20 years.
Biden has insisted he has no regrets over the handling of the U.S. pullout, even though accounts showed the administration appeared unprepared for the rapid collapse of the Afghan government and a chaotic effort to squeeze out the civilians in the country culminated in the terrorist attack that killed 13 people. US troops and over 100 Afghans in the area.
The president argued that staying in Afghanistan would have cost more American lives and forced the United States to commit more forces to fight the Taliban.
Read the full story here.
Biden faces calls to let twin Vindman retire as colonel
President Biden is facing calls to allow Colonel Yevgeny “Eugene” Vindman, who alongside his twin brother Alexander denounced former President Trump’s July 2019 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, from retire with the title of colonel.
Vindman was promoted to colonel in March last year by Biden after his career was sidetracked by a bad review – which the Department of Defense inspector general later determined was likely retaliation for his involvement in the expressing concern about Trump’s actions in a phone call.
But to officially retire as a colonel, one must hold the rank for three years.
The backstory: Two days after Trump was acquitted of impeachment charges for his Ukraine dealings in the Senate, the two Vindman brothers were escorted out of the White House. Their promotions to colonel were delayed.
As Alexander Vindman retired, Eugene Vindman received a career-damaging negative performance review from a superior who, a year earlier, had commended him as one of the best lawyers and military officers with whom he ever worked.
Eugene Vindman is scheduled to retire next Wednesday.
The argument: Lawyers Defending American Democracy, which wrote the letter to Biden, said the move would have significance beyond an official title.
“By granting this waiver, you will reinforce an essential message: those who bravely defend the constitution and the rule of law will be rewarded, and retaliation will not be tolerated,” they write.
The Vindmans are “military heroes”: “There are military heroes. There are legal heroes. Then there are those like Colonel Vindman who are both. He deserves to retire with the rank he so well deserves,” said Norm Eisen, an attorney who served as co-adviser to the House Judiciary Committee during Trump’s first impeachment.
Learn more here.
The American Enterprise Institute will host an event, “An (Air) Force to Be Reckoned with: Defense Strategy and Innovation with General Charles Q. Brown Jr., at 10 a.m.
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