The Department of Justice (DOJ) has turned down a request from House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) to release information linked to the FBI’s search and subsequent raid on the Mar-a-Lago estate of former President Donald Trump, which took place last August in relation to allegations of classified documents. This was a part of a larger ongoing criminal investigation led by a Special Counsel.
Jordan had put forth a request to the DOJ in a letter, seeking details about the classified materials discovered during the FBI’s search. His inquiry extended to the communications exchanged between the FBI’s Washington office and the U.S. Secret Service. However, his request was declined by the DOJ last Friday on the grounds of not being able to provide “non-public information about an ongoing criminal investigation and prosecution by a Special Counsel.”
In a written response to Jordan’s request, Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte stated, “Protecting the confidentiality of non-public information regarding investigations and prosecutions preserves the American people’s confidence in the evenhanded administration of justice by guarding against the appearance of political pressure or other improper attempts to influence Department decisions.”
In his earlier letter, the House GOP chairman asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to disclose information about the personnel working on the Trump case. This request was made prior to Trump being indicted on charges related to Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into whether the former president mishandled classified documents.
The Judiciary Committee had previously requested information and documents connected to the FBI’s raid on Trump’s residence and the ensuing investigation. As this information was not provided, Jordan, in light of the appointment of Jack Smith as Special Counsel, requested an unredacted copy of the memorandum outlining the scope of Smith’s investigations regarding President Trump and any supporting documentation related to his appointment as Special Counsel.
Uriarte, in his Friday letter, also pointed to the recent indictment against Trump as a source of detailed information about the investigation and the charges brought against him. Trump has pleaded not guilty to dozens of counts related to the classified documents case in a Miami federal courthouse last week.
The rejection of Jordan’s request for information followed the release of a report from Special Counsel John Durham, who examined the FBI’s initiation of a probe into allegations of Trump’s collusion with the Russian government during the 2016 election. Durham critiqued the FBI’s decision-making process, stating that the investigation should have not been started in the first place.
Following the DOJ’s response, Jordan has yet to issue a public comment. When asked by reporters on Friday about the possibility of issuing a subpoena to Garland, Jordan did not provide a definite answer. Other members of the House Judiciary Committee have suggested that Jordan will likely issue a subpoena.
In related developments, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon issued an order instructing all involved parties to secure security clearances for their lawyers. This order underlines the sensitivity of the case, as it deals with classified materials accessible to a president.