Garland admits personally approving FBI raid against Donald Trump

To unseal portions of the search warrant executed at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, the Justice Department has moved to do so, and the former president later said in a statement that he wouldn’t oppose the request. Prosecutors revealed in a court filing connected to the search warrant that “the public’s clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred under these circumstances weighs heavily in favor of unsealing.”

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Moments after the department filed the motion in federal court in Florida, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the news. “I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in the latter,” said Garland. “I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked,” he added, addressing criticisms of the department and FBI agents lodged by Trump and his allies.

Trump issued a statement a few hours later, indicating that he plans to consent to the motion. Trump wrote in a post on his Truth Social platform: “Not only will I not oppose the release of documents related to the unAmerican, unwarranted, and unnecessary raid and break-in of my home in Palm Beach, Florida, Mar-a-Lago, I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents.”

How quickly the presiding magistrate judge in Florida, Bruce Reinhart, will act on the Justice Department’s motion to unseal the warrant, is not clear yet. Still, it’s likely to move quickly given Trump’s public assent. The motion was being made “absent objection by former President Trump,” who could either support or attempt to block the public release of the warrant, as the file noted, said Politico.

The Justice Department was ordered by Reinhart to immediately serve a copy of the motion on Trump’s lawyers and to advise the judge by 3 p.m. the next day whether the former president opposes the motion to unseal the warrant.

Garland’s first public statement came three days after the search, during a press conference, and the first public acknowledgment that the Justice Department is investigating Trump’s handling of classified presidential records. We did not hear much about the search warrant or about the circumstances surrounding the case, as he declined to reveal. He did not take any questions and he was speaking for roughly 5 minutes.

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“All Americans are entitled to the evenhanded application of the law, the due process of the law and to the presumption of innocence. Much of our work is by necessity conducted out of the public eye. We do that to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans and to protect the integrity of our investigations,” Garland said.

U.S. Attorney Juan Gonzalez and Jay Bratt, chief of DOJ’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, signed the motion to unseal portions of the search warrant, including a “redacted Property Receipt listing items seized pursuant to the search.”

A direct quote from one of Trump’s attorneys, Christina Bobb, who told the New York Times that the search concerned “presidential records or any possibly classified material,” was the only reference in the DOJ’s motion to the subject of the search. Gonzalez and Bratt wrote in the filing: “As such, the occurrence of the search and indications of the subject matter involved are already public.” Likewise, Garland said he was speaking out publicly only after Trump himself acknowledged the FBI search.

The search was followed by months of indications that the Justice Department was scrutinizing Trump’s handling of presidential records, including classified materials that were allegedly relocated to Mar-a-Lago in the closing days of his presidency. In February, the National Archives revealed its concerns about the missing records, acknowledging that it had referred the matter to prosecutors.

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