Attorney General Merrick Garland stated on Thursday that the government’s decision to request a court’s unsealing of information regarding the government’s Monday search of former President Trump’s Florida home. It was due to the intensified public interest in the Justice Department’s alleged seizure of private information Trump had taken from the White House.
Overnight, Trump demanded that the government’s warrant and the materials seized as a result of the FBI’s search of his residence, both of which he and his lawyers have, be made “immediately” public.
“The department filed the motion to make public the warrant and [property] receipt in light of the former president’s public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances, and the substantial public interest in this matter,” Garland said.
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The attorney general revealed in a press statement that he directly ordered the choice to get a warrant and search Trump’s home during a surprise appearance at the Justice Department on Thursday.
“I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked. The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are patriotic, dedicated public servants,” the attorney general said. “Every day they protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism, and other threats to their safety while safeguarding our civil rights. … I am honored to work alongside them. This is all I can say right now.”
The “basis of the search,” according to unnamed sources, is presidential materials that Trump and his representatives have illegally withheld from the National Archives in defiance of negotiations and federal search warrants. Garland did not characterize or define what his department sought from Trump or the “basis of the search.” Before Monday, Trump had first returned 15 boxes of White House materials to the government as part of the drama surrounding the retrieval of presidential records.
While some of Trump’s allies have suggested without providing any proof that the government may have “planted” documents to harm the former president politically in advance of his anticipated 2024 presidential bid, Trump and his lawyers and advocates, who were the first to disclose the FBI search on Monday, argued again on Thursday that it was an unnecessary “raid.”
The former president stated Thursday that he and his attorneys were ready before Monday to work with the Justice Department to provide material “if we had it” in remarks made on his social media platform, Truth Social. The search, according to him, “came out of nowhere and with no notice.”
The Justice Department carried out a search warrant “drawn up by radical left Democrats and potential future political opponents, who have a strong and powerful vested interest in attacking me, much as they have done for the last 6 years,” according to the former president’s response to Garland’s public remarks. It is wrong and seriously unethical to use law enforcement as a political weapon in this way. Release the files right away! Trump wrote.
The government’s actions at Mar-a-Lago on Monday were legally justified, and a court gave Trump’s attorneys and the Justice Department until 3 p.m. today to decide if Trump agrees to unseal the search documents.
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