The FBI Interviewed 3 Trump Officials Before The Big Raid

( FBI agents looking into handling secret materials by the late President Donald Trump contacted three Trump officials, according to a New York Times piece by Maggie Haberman on August 16.

Pat Cipollone, Trump’s White House counsel, and Patrick Philbin, his deputy, were allegedly questioned by the FBI regarding boxes of sensitive documents kept at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago estate in Florida, according to Haberman, who gained notoriety for her reporting on the phony Russian collusion investigation. Multiple cartons of documents were finally seized by agents, along with other things.

Cipollone and Philbin had already been designated as the former president’s representatives at the National Archives. This previous spring, Philbin reportedly faced questions on how 15 boxes of documents came to be in Mar-A-Lago. Officials from the National Archives got in touch with Philbin to track down some papers in Trump’s possession. The New York Times reported that Philbin attempted to return the documents but was unsuccessful.

Some of the things sought by the National Archives that ended up at Mar-a-Lago included Trump’s correspondence with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and a letter from former President Barack Obama to Trump (written on Obama’s way out of office), according to Haberman’s piece.

After the National Archives alerted the DOJ to the situation, investigators sought out Philbin and Cipollone to question. According to Haberman, the FBI contacted eight people in relation to the National Archives case, including the two males. She added Derek Lyons, a former White House staff secretary, to the list of those questioned for the continuing investigation.

The affidavit that served as the basis for the search warrant for Trump’s property has been requested to be kept sealed by the Department of Justice. The DOJ’s omnibus response to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on August 15 stated that disclosing the affidavit proving probable cause “would… cause significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation.”

The document allegedly contains “extremely sensitive information about witnesses, including witnesses examined by the government,” according to the lawsuit, which was authored by U.S. Attorney Juan Gonzalez and Jay Bratt, chief of the DOJ’s counterintelligence and export control unit.

On Thursday, August 18, Judge Bruce Reinhart will hold a hearing to decide whether or not the affidavit will be made public.