Merrick Garland: DOJ filed motion to unseal Mar-a-Lago warrant and property receipt

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

He noted that the department had not commented on the search on the day it took place. He pointed out that the search was confirmed by Trump that evening. He said copies of the warrant and the warrant receipt were provided to Trump’s attorneys who were on hand during the search.

“The Department filed the 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 public interest in this matter,” Garland said. “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. Under my leadership, that is precisely what the Department of Justice is doing.”

The statement comes after days of silence from the Justice Department regarding the search, as is the department’s normal practice for ongoing investigations. Garland stressed that some of the department’s work must take place outside of public view.

“We are doing this to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans and to protect the integrity of our investigations,” he said, while explaining that he would not provide further details based on the research.

Trump and his legal team have not yet made a decision on how to respond to the Justice Department’s request to unseal the warrant, a source familiar with their thinking told CNN.

In a pair of Truth Social posts after Garland’s statement, Trump continued to say his attorneys were “cooperating fully” and had developed “a very good relationship” with federal investigators ahead of Monday’s Mar-a-Lago search. .

“The government could have had anything it wanted, if we had it,” Trump said. “All was well, better than most previous Presidents, then out of nowhere and without warning, Mar-a-Lago was raided, at 6:30 a.m., by a VERY large number of officers, and even ” safecrackers”.'”

The Justice Department has been instructed by the court to speak with Trump about his request to unseal certain warrant documents from the FBI Mar-a-Lago search and tell the court by 3 p.m. ET Friday. he opposes their release.

Trump’s team contacted outside attorneys to find out how to proceed. Among the options they are considering is challenging the Justice Department’s request to lift the warrant’s seal, a source familiar with the discussion said.

Trump’s orbit was caught off guard by Garland’s announcement.

Justice Department asks court to release documents

The FBI executed a search warrant Monday in Palm Beach, Fla., as part of an investigation into the handling of presidential documents, including classified documents, that may have been brought there.

The Washington Post, citing people familiar with the investigation, reported late Thursday that classified documents related to nuclear weapons were among the items sought by FBI agents while executing the Mar-a-Lago search warrant. .

People did not provide additional details to the Post about “the type of information officers were looking for” or whether such documents were recovered, the newspaper reported.

Newly filed court documents outline what the Justice Department officially decided to do on Thursday.

“On August 8, 2022, the Department of Justice executed a search warrant, issued by this Court after the required finding of probable cause … at the premises located at 1100 S. Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach, Florida 33480, a property of former President Donald J. Trump,” the motion read.

“At the time the warrant was initially executed, the Department notified former President Trump’s attorney directly. The Department made no public statement about the search, and the search apparently only attracted little or no public attention as it unfolded. Later that same day, former President Trump issued a public statement acknowledging the execution of the warrant. In the days that followed, the search warrant and the related documents have been the subject of considerable interest and attention from the news media and other entities,” the Justice Department wrote.

The DOJ then argued for the unsealing of the search warrant, citing “the intense public interest presented by a search of the residence of a former president”.

The record confirms that the search warrant was “signed and approved by the Court on August 5”. On Thursday, the DOJ filed “the redacted property receipt listing the items seized as a result of the search,” according to its unsealing motion.

“Former President Trump, through counsel, received copies of each of these documents on August 8, 2022, in connection with the execution of the search,” the filing adds.

Earlier this year, National Archives officials organized the recovery of 15 boxes of presidential documents from Mar-a-Lago. In June, federal investigators served a grand jury subpoena and took away sensitive national security documents.

Then, according to sources, prosecutors developed evidence that there were potentially classified documents with national security implications that remained on the property.

FBI officials attacked

Republican lawmakers blasted the department, calling the research politically motivated. Several right-wing lawmakers have called for increased oversight of the department, and some have even suggested withdrawing FBI funding or having agents plant evidence on the Florida estate.

Violent threats have also exploded online since the raid. The posters wrote things like “Garland must be murdered” and “kill all Feds”. The biography and contact information of a federal magistrate who appears to have signed the search warrant used to execute the Mar-a-Lago search has been removed from a Florida court’s website after he too became the target of violent threats.

In a message reviewed by CNN on Thursday moments before the public statement, FBI Director Chris Wray told bureau workers that their “safety and security” was his “primary concern at this time.”

The feds removed documents from Mar-a-Lago in June along with a grand jury subpoena

“There have been a lot of comments about the FBI this week questioning our work and our motives,” Wray said. “A lot of it comes from critics and outside experts who don’t know what we know and don’t see what we see. What I know – and what I see – is an organization made up of men and women who are committed to doing their jobs professionally and professionally every day; this week is no exception.”

In his public comments, Garland also denounced “unfounded attacks on the professionalism of FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors.”

“I will not remain silent when their integrity is unfairly attacked. The men and women of the FBI and the Department of Justice are dedicated patriotic officials,” he said. “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 sacrifice and risk to themselves. I am honored to work alongside them.”

This story and title have been updated with additional developments.

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, Gabby Orr and Shawna Mizelle contributed to this report.

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