Allies are urging Trump not to release Mar-a-Lago surveillance footage — here's why
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump talks to members of the media after a meeting meeting with Pentagon officials at Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., December 21, 2016. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

On Wednesday, CNN reported that former President Donald Trump is considering releasing surveillance footage from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, depicting the FBI executing their search warrant. However, his associates are divided on whether this is actually a good idea.

"Some of Trump's aides and allies have encouraged the former President to make some of the footage available to the public, believing it could send a jolt of energy through the Republican Party's base," reported Gabby Orr, Sara Murray, Kaitlan Collins, and Katelyn Polantz.

"One person familiar with the conversations said there have been discussions about featuring the August footage in campaign-style ads, believing the footage could bolster Trump's claims of political persecution. Another person close to Trump said it's not a matter of if the former President and his team release any of the footage, but when, noting it could be released before he makes a campaign announcement."

"Others in Trump's orbit have warned of the potential risks to the former President if he does release the tapes. A second person close to Trump cautioned that releasing the footage could backfire by providing people with a visual understanding of the sheer volume of materials that federal agents seized from his oceanfront residence, including classified materials," said the report.

"It's one thing to read a bunch of numbers on an inventory list, it's another to see law enforcement agents actually carrying a dozen-plus boxes out of President Trump's home knowing they probably contain sensitive documents. I don't see how that helps him,' said this person, who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity in order the speak candidly."

According to previous reports, FBI agents were searching for large amounts of highly classified information at Mar-a-Lago — including secrets pertaining to nuclear weapons.

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Trump has claimed the entire thing is a "witch hunt" and has aggressively fundraised off of attacking the FBI — even though the agency is headed by his own appointed director Christopher Wray, and even though far-right activists have been threatening or actually engaging in violent attacks on the FBI.

"While it is unclear exactly what the surveillance footage could show, Trump and his attorneys say they taped the August 8 search by federal investigators even after agents asked them to turn off the security cameras," said the report. "Jay Bratt, the chief of the counterintelligence and export control section at the Justice Department who visited Mar-a-Lago in June, was the official who made the specific ask the day of the search, a source familiar tells CNN. The Justice Department had previously subpoenaed surveillance footage from the club as part of its ongoing investigation, including outside the room where documents were kept."

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