Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday that the Justice Department is filing a motion to unlock portions of the search warrant for former President Trump’s residence in Mar-a-Lago.
Send the news: Garland also said he “personally approved the decision to request a search warrant in this case.”
- “The department doesn’t make such a decision lightly. Whenever possible, it is standard practice to seek less intrusive resources as an alternative to a search and to limit any search that is undertaken,” Garland said.
The big picture: The FBI on Monday searched Trump’s residence for what is likely related to documents Trump took from the White House that may have been classified, two sources familiar with the case told Axios’ Jonathan Swan.
- When a search warrant is requested for an important figure, such as a former president, “it goes through a long review process,” Gene Rossi, a former federal prosecutor, previously told Axios.
Details: “Both the FBI’s warrant and title deed were delivered on the day of the search to the former president’s counsel, who was on the scene during the search,” Garland said.
- The Department of Justice has unsealed the search warrant signed and approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Aug. 5, “including Appendices A and B” and “the redacted title deed indicating items seized were taken during the search, filed with the court on August 11, 2022.”
- “In these circumstances relating to a search of the residence of a former president, the administration hereby requests the court to unseal the filing notice and its attachment (Docket Entry 17), without objection from former President Trump,” the filing said.
Situation: Garland also spoke of “baseless attacks on Justice Department agents and prosecutors” in the wake of the search.
- “I will not stand by when their integrity is unjustly attacked. The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated patriotic officials every day.”
- “Every day, they protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism and other threats to their security, while protecting our civil rights.”
- “They are doing this at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves. I am honored to be working with them,” he said.
Trump said: in a Truth Social post Thursday after Garland’s press conference that Mar-a-Lago was ambushed “out of the blue and without warning” by “very large numbers of agents.” He claimed that he and his representatives had fully cooperated.
- “The government could have gotten what they wanted if we had it,” he said.
- “They were way ahead of things,” he added.
Between the lines: Hours before Garland’s remarks, an armed person attempted to break into the FBI building in Cincinnati, leading to a lockdown in the nearby area.
What he says: “Faithful observance of the rule of law is the basic tenet of the Justice Department and of our democracy. Upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly, without fear or favor,” Garland said.
- “Much of our work is necessarily performed outside of the public eye. We do it to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans and to protect the integrity of our investigations.”
Go deeper: Presidential Records Act and Search for Trump Explained
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated throughout with additional details.