Attorney General Merrick Garland said The Justice Department asked a federal judge on Thursday to cancel a search warrant that was used by FBI agents to raid home in Florida of the former President Donald Trump three days ago.
That request comes after days of pressure from Republican lawmakers and other Trump allies on the Justice Department to explain why the Justice Department allowed what is believed to be the first search. The former president’s residence is involved in a criminal investigation.
The Justice Department is seeking to seal a wanted warrant and a trove of items seized by the FBI during a search of Trump’s home at the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach.
But the department will not ask the judge to rescind the probable cause affidavit, which will detail how authorities believe a crime may have been committed and why there will be evidence of a crime. the crime at the location targeted in the search.
However, the subpoena itself is likely to list criminal statutes related to the search.
Late Thursday, a group of media companies, including NBC News, The Washington Post and CNN, filed a request to destroy all court records related to the subpoena, including “all affidavits.” there is cause that can be filed in support of a search warrant.” NBC News is a division of NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC.
“Media interventionists are news organizations and are entitled, as members of the public, to view criminal records,” the filing said. “The immense public interest in these records in particular outweighs any purported interest in keeping them secret.”
The Justice Department is investigating Trump over the removal of documents from the White House and possible violations of classified information laws because of the nature of some of those documents.
Garland said in a surprise press conference: “The Department submitted a motion to release the warrant and receipt in light of the former president’s public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances, and the substantial interest of the former president. the public on this matter”.
The department’s recommendation was filed with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, where Mar-a-Lago is located. It was signed by Jay Bratt, Head of Counterintelligence and Export Control of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.
Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at Freeway I-80 on May 1, 2022 in Greenwood, Nebraska.
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Garland at the press conference said, “I personally approved the decision to execute a search warrant in this matter.”
“The ministry does not take such a decision lightly,” he said. “If possible, standard practice is to look for less intrusive means as an alternative to a search and to narrow down any searches performed.”
Garland also condemned what he called “recent baseless attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Department of Justice and prosecutors” in connection with the search and related investigations.
“I will not stand by when their integrity is unfairly attacked,” he said.
Trump’s attorney and his spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Garland’s announcement and whether Trump would object to the unsealing request.
Judge Bruce Reinhart on Thursday ordered the Justice Department to speak with Trump’s lawyers and find out if they object to the move. Reinhart directed the Justice Department to notify him by 3 p.m. Friday of Trump’s response.
Trump in a post on his social media site after the news conference wrote that prior to the raid, his attorneys and representatives were “in full cooperation” with the Justice Department and had a “very good relationship.” has been established.”
“The government can have anything they want, if we have it,” Trump wrote.
“They asked us to put an extra padlock on a certain area – DONE! Everything was fine, better than most previous Presidents, and then, gratuitously and without warning, Mar -a-Lago was raided at 6:30 in the morning, by a LOT of agents and even ‘safe-breakers’. They took the lead. It was crazy.”
Trump and his allies declared the Ministry of Justice and Garlandperson appointed by the Democratic President Joe Biden, looking for TrumpThe former president’s residence is politically damaged.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks about an FBI search warrant issued at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida in a statement at the US Department of Justice in Washington, US , August 11, 2022.
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FBI agents seized about a dozen boxes from Mar-a-Lago, according to Trump’s attorney.
That attorney said the agents left a copy of the search warrant, indicating that they were investigating possible violations of the law related to the Presidential Records Act and its handling of the cases. classified documents.
A senior White House official told NBC News they had no idea what Garland would say before he took the podium at the Justice Department.
“We were not informed that he was making comments and had no briefing on their content,” the official said.
The Department of Justice and Garland have a longstanding policy of not commenting on criminal investigations prior to charges.