Andrew Weissmann, a former Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutor, said Friday that former President Donald Trump will be “prosecuted” over the way he handled classified documents after the FBI search warrant affidavit was unsealed.
His comments come after the redacted affidavit was unsealed by Judge Bruce Reinhart on Friday, showing the way Trump handled classified documents that were retrieved from his Florida Mar-a-Lago residence during an FBI raid earlier this month.
“When I read this today, my big overarching takeaway is, and I know this is just a prediction and speculation, but I say it’s an educated one is that the former president is going to be prosecuted. I don’t see how you cannot give in this information,” he said during an interview on MSNBC‘s Deadline: White House.
Weissmann, who served as the General Counsel for the FBI, compared Trump’s situation to that of former CIA director and retired Army General David Petraeus, who pleaded guilty in 2015 to a charge of mishandling classified materials. He was sentenced to two years of probation and fined $100,000.
“When you compare it to precedent, we compare it to General Petraeus…what we are seeing is so much worse both in terms of the volume, the length of time, and then the sort of repeated obstruction and false statements that were made,” said Weissmann, who served as a lead prosecutor in the Mueller investigation.
He added: “I don’t see if you’re somebody like Merrick Garland, who is a former judge who thinks about precedent, about treating… defendants equally. I don’t see how you avoid that conclusion in this case.”
The redacted version of the affidavit showed that the DOJ has been investigating how Trump mishandled the classified materials since May 2021, when the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) first reached out about missing documents. The unsealed affidavit also showed that of the 184 documents obtained during the raid, 25 were marked “top secret,” 92 were marked “secret,” and 67 were marked “confidential.”
The ex-president has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, and accused the FBI of corruption, although the federal agency is currently led by Director Christopher Wray, a Republican whom Trump nominated to the position. The former president also said that the FBI search was part of a broader partisan “witch hunt” targeting him and his family.
Meanwhile, echoing Weissmann’s remarks, Trump’s former attorney Alan Derschowitz said that the information in the affidavit is enough evidence for the DOJ to indict the former president.
“It sounds like there would be enough for an indictment, but like probable cause, an indictment is easy to get,” Dershowitz told Newsweek, adding that prosecutors could simply point to the materials found at Trump’s residence that he unlawfully kept.
“The extent of what has been compromised in our intelligence gathering capabilities is going to be staggering,” she said.
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s press office for comment.