Rep. Adam Schiff says unsealing FBI's Mar-a-Lago affidavit puts sources 'at risk' but 'the public interest is also real'
- Adam Schiff said the public could "learn a lot from the affidavit" used in the Mar-A-Lago search.
- However, unsealing the affidavit may put sources "at risk" of retaliation from Trump, Schiff said.
Rep. Adam Schiff on Sunday said there are serious risks unsealing the FBI affidavit used to authorize the search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-A-Lago residence.
"You could learn what witnesses may have seen in terms of the handling of those documents or people coming and going from where the documents were located. You could learn about whether representations were made that proved to be false, in terms of whether they had given up the classified information," he told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday.
"You could learn a great deal," he continued. "That's just the problem, though, for the Justice Department. I think probably their concern is very legitimate. That is that, if this affidavit is revealed, it will put those sources of information at risk."
The agency seized about a dozen boxes of classified documents from the Florida property.
—CNN (@CNN) August 21, 2022
Schiff said Trump might "retaliate against anyone he considers a whistle-blower" and "accuse them of treason."
"We have seen the president's incendiary rhetoric already lead someone to go to an FBI building with an assault weapon who was shot to death by the FBI defending itself. So, the risks that the Justice Department identify are real," Schiff said.
He added: "Now, the public interest is also real. But I think the question is, at what point in time does the public get to see that affidavit? And I think the Justice Department makes a powerful case that, at the early stage of the investigation, when it could jeopardize the pursuit of justice, this is not the time to be giving essentially the Trump lawyers a road map into how to intimidate witnesses or how to derail a legitimate investigation."
Schiff said that he hopes whatever pertinent information from the affidavit will be shared with Congress, including anything that relates to "a danger to the national security information contained in those documents" seized by the FBI.
"I don't want to see Congress or anyone else interfere with the conduct of the investigation. I'd like to make sure that we do our oversight of that, but that we do it in such a way as not to jeopardize the pursuit of justice," he said.
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