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Garland said he moved to unseal Trump search warrant, defends DOJ from attacks

Attorney General Merrick Garland said he “personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant” for former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

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Daniel Barnes, Peter Nicholas, Kelly O’Donnell, Vaughn Hillyard, Dareh Gregorian, Jonathan Allen, and Vaughn Hillyard

Jonathan Allen and Vaughn Hillyard and Dareh Gregorian and Daniel Barnes and Peter Nicholas and Kelly O’Donnell

41 minutes ago Authors: Jonathan Allen, Vaughn Hillyard, Dareh Gregorian, Daniel Barnes, Peter Nicholas, and Kelly O’Donnell

U.S. CAPITAL — On Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland said that he “personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant” for former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and that the Justice Department had filed a motion to make the warrant public.

During a brief press conference, Garland explained his decision and said that the department “does not take such actions lightly” and instead tries “less intrusive” methods first. While all Americans are entitled to a presumption of innocence, Garland pointed out that Trump has every “right” to disclose the FBI’s search of his property on Monday.

Garland also mentioned that the Justice Department has requested the property receipt from the Trump property be made public.

Given that Trump had not provided the Justice Department with all of the requested materials, Garland’s apparent reference to “less intrusive” avenues for recovery of documents seemed to be a reference to the subpoena.

After Garland’s comments, Trump released a statement on Truth Social in which he defended himself and claimed that his lawyers were “cooperating fully” and had developed “very good relationships” with officials at the Justice Department.

We had everything the government needed, he wrote. “Without any prior notice or explanation, “VERY large numbers of agents, and even’safecrackers,'” stormed Mar-a-Lago. They were thinking ahead of themselves way too much. Crazy!”

On Thursday afternoon, conservative journalist John Solomon reported that months before the FBI searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida on Monday, Trump had been served with a subpoena.

Trump made an anti-FBI post on Truth Social earlier this week.

“They wanted to be alone, without any witnesses to see what they were doing, taking, or, hopefully not, “planting,” he wrote. “Why were they so adamant that no one watch them and that everyone leave?

Garland defended the Justice Department from “unfounded” attacks from Trump and his allies during his remarks on Thursday.

When their honor is being unfairly questioned, “I will not remain silent,” he said. Every day, they protect us from the dangers of terrorism, gun violence, and other criminal acts, all while preserving our constitutional rights.

Trump’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether or not the president planned to oppose Garland’s motion to unseal the search warrant.

Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax and a personal friend of the former president, said, “my guess is he’s pretty shocked.” By labeling the investigation a “publicity stunt” and painting the Justice Department in a negative light, Ruddy echoed Trump’s criticisms of the FBI.

According to a senior White House official who spoke to NBC News, the administration was not briefed on Garland’s comments in advance.

There was a federal judge’s approval for the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago on August 5, per the Justice Department’s motion. In their filing, they state that Trump and his attorneys have access to the search warrant and a “redacted Property Receipt listing items seized pursuant to the search,” both of which they can object to making public.

The Government believes these factors favor unsealing the search warrant because of the “intense public interest” presented by a search of a former President’s residence “and associated documentation, the filing states. However, “the former President should be given a chance to respond to this Motion and lodge objections,” the document reads. “These materials may cause the former President ‘legitimate privacy interests’ or other ‘injury’ if they are made public.”

On Thursday, Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart issued an order instructing Justice Department officials to meet with Trump’s attorneys to discuss whether or not Trump intends to challenge the release of the warrant and property receipt. In order to inform the judge of the Trump team’s plans, the Justice Department must submit a notice by Friday at 3 p.m. ET.