Garland Says DOJ Seals Trump Mar-a-Lago Search Warrant

Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday the Justice Department is filing a motion to unseal portions of the search warrant for former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.

Driving the news: Garland also said he “personally approved of the decision to seek a search warrant in this case.”

  • “The department does not make such a decision lightly. Wherever possible, it is standard practice to seek less intrusive means as an alternative to a search and to tightly limit any search undertaken,” Garland said.

The big picture: The FBI searched Trump’s Florida residence on Monday in what is likely linked to documents Trump took from the White House that may have been classified, two sources familiar with the matter told Axios’ Jonathan Swan.

  • When a search warrant is requested for a major figure, like a former president, “it goes through a lengthy review process,” Gene Rossi, a former federal prosecutor, previously told Axios.

Details: “The FBI warrant and property receipt were provided on the day of the search to the former president’s attorney, who was on site during the search,” Garland said.

  • The Justice Department moved to unseal the search warrant signed and approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on August 5, “including Attachments A and B” and “the redacted property receipt listing the items seized following the search, filed with the Court on August 11, 2022.”
  • β€œIn these circumstances involving a search of the residence of a former President, the Government hereby requests the Court to unseal the notice of filing and its attachment (entry in file 17), in the absence of objection of former President Trump,” the filing reads.

State of play: Garland also referred to the “unfounded attacks on Justice Department officers and prosecutors” following the search.

  • “I will not remain silent when their integrity is unjustly attacked. The men and women of the FBI and the Department of Justice are dedicated patriotic public servants 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 do so at great personal cost and risk to themselves. I am honored to work alongside them,” he said.

trump said in a Truth Social article on Thursday after Garland’s press conference, Mar-a-Lago was attacked “out of nowhere and without warning” by “an overwhelming number of officers.” He claimed that he and his representatives cooperated fully.

  • “The government could have had whatever it wanted, if we had had it,” he said.
  • “They got ahead of themselves,” he added.

Between the lines: Hours before Garland’s remarks, an armed person attempted to break into the FBI building in Cincinnati, causing a lockdown in the surrounding area.

What he says : “Faithful adherence to the rule of law is the fundamental tenet of the Department of Justice and our democracy. Upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly, without fear or favour,” Garland said.

  • “Much of our work is by necessity conducted out of the public eye. We do this to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans and to protect the integrity of our investigations.”

Go further: The Presidential Records Act and Trump’s search explained

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional details throughout.

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