Washington- The Justice Department moved Thursday to unlock the search warrant used by federal agents to…from former President Donald Trump’s Florida home, with Attorney General Merrick Garland revealing that he “personally approved” the extraordinary move of requesting the warrant.
In brief comments from the Justice Department, when the administration filed its petition in federal court, Garland defended the move to have dozens of federal agents come to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, saying he “will not make such decisions.” take lightly”. However, he noted that he was bound by federal law, department rules and ethical obligations to provide more information about the basis of the search. CBS News has reported that the search was related to an investigation into documents Trump had with him when he left the White House.
“Faithful adherence to the role of the law is the basic tenet of the Department of Justice and our democracy. Upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly without fear or favour,” he said. “Under my supervision, that is exactly what the Department of Justice is doing. All Americans have the right to impartial application of the law, to due process, and to the presumption of innocence.”
The Justice Department’s decision to ask the court to release the warrant was made “in light of the public confirmation of the former president’s search, the surrounding circumstances and the substantial importance in this case,” Garland said. .
He noted that the warrant had been approved by a federal court in South Florida “after the requisite determination of probable cause,” and copies of the warrant and a list of properties seized by the FBI — required by law to be with owner of the property – were provided to Trump’s attorneys on the day of the search.
One of Trump’s lawyers, Lindsey Halligan,that she and a second attorney, Christina Bobb, a former television host for the far-right One America News network, were in Mar-a-Lago while the search was underway.
In its filing with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the Department of Justice called the “intense public interest” in searching the residence of a former president to ask a Florida federal magistrate to issue the search warrant and accompanying warrants. information unsealed, as well as the list of seized items, “absent objection of the former president.”
“The press and the public have a qualified right of access to criminal and judicial proceedings and the court records contained therein,” wrote U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez and Jay Bratt, head of the Department of Justice’s counterintelligence and export control division. They added that “the clear and strong public interest in understanding what happened under these circumstances weighs heavily in favor of unsealing.”
The judge quickly ordered federal prosecutors to consult with Trump’s attorneys to determine whether they oppose the motion to unseal the warrant and accompanying documents, and set a Friday 3 p.m. deadline for the U.S. response. Trump team.
In a late night post On his social media site, former President Trump said he would not oppose the release of the warrant, and in fact “ENCOURAGES the release” of documents relating to what he called “the un-American, unwarranted and unnecessary raid and burglary.” from my house in Palm Beach.”
The New York Times and Times Union of Albany, New York, along with the conservative organization Judicial Watch, filed separate requests in court on Wednesday for access to all documents — including any underlying affidavits — related to the search warrant. CBS News on Thursday requested that it cooperate with the Times’ efforts to make the search warrant and other related material public.
Garland’s comments came amid mounting pressure from Republicans to address the FBI’s search for Mar-a-Lago. The former president disclosed the search, and sources confirmed to CBS News that it was related to a Justice Department investigation into Trump’s handling of. In January, the National Archives and Records Administration of presidential archives, some of which include: from Mar-a-Lago, and check.
During the search, the FBI, two sources confirmed to CBS News, and no electronics were included. An official said some or possibly all of the seized documents contained classified information.
Sources familiar with the case told CBS News on Thursday that a federal grand jury issued a subpoena related to the document investigation in the spring, before Justice Department officials met with Trump attorneys in Mar. Lago about the records. The online news channel Just the News first reported the existence of the subpoena.
Trump and his GOP allies were quick to denounce the unprecedented search, claiming without evidence that it was a politically motivated attack on a likely 2024 challenger to Mr Biden. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthythe Justice Department if Republicans gain control of the House in the November midterm elections, telling Garland in a tweet to save the data and prepare to testify next year.
But Garland defended the department against attacks from Republicans over its credibility and independence.
“I will not stand by when their integrity is unjustly attacked,” he said. “The men and women of the FBI and the Department of Justice are dedicated, patriotic officials. Every day they protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism and other threats to their security, while protecting our civil rights.”
The White House did not know in advance that Garland would make a statement, and officials learned about it through news reports, a White House official told CBS News ahead of his comments. President Biden left Washington on Wednesday for ato Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
Robert Costa and Andres Triay reported.