Trump calls for ‘immediate’ issue of Mar-a-Lago warrants

FILE - Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department on August 4, 2022 in Washington.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Seneta, FILE)

FILE – Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department on August 4, 2022 in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Seneta, FILE)


Former President Donald Trump called late Thursday for the “immediate” release of a federal warrant the FBI searched his Florida property, the Justice Department had asked the court to cancel the warrant, Attorney General Merrick Garland called “substantial public”. citing said. interest in this matter. ,

In messages posted on his Truth social platform, Trump wrote, “Not only will I not oppose the release of the documents… I am going a step further by encouraging the immediate release of those documents.” He continued to describe the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago as “American, unfair and unnecessary.”

“Release the document now!” He has written.

The Justice Department’s request earlier Thursday is striking because such documents are traditionally sealed pending investigations. But the department recognized that its silence since the discovery had created a void for bitter verbal attacks by Trump and his allies, and that the public deserved the FBI’s favor as to what prompted Monday’s action at the former president’s home. did.

“The public’s clear and powerful interest in understanding what happened under these circumstances is in favor of unsealing,” said a motion filed Thursday in federal court in Florida.

Should a warrant be issued – the request is now with the judge – it could reveal ineffective information about the former president and the investigation into the FBI’s handling of sensitive government documents as he prepares for another run to the White House. Can do. During his successful 2016 campaign, he often pointed to the FBI investigation of his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, over whether he misrepresented classified information.

It is unclear at this point how much information will be included in the documents, if made public, or if they will include an FBI affidavit that will likely form a detailed factual basis for the discovery. The department specifically requested the removal of the warrant as well as two unspecified annexures as well as a property receipt listing the confiscated items.

To obtain a search warrant, federal officials must prove to a judge that probable cause exists to believe that a crime was committed. Garland, who said he personally approved the warrant, said the department did not take it lightly because standard practice where possible is to choose a less intrusion strategy than a search of one’s home.

The case, according to a person familiar with the matter, had substantial affiliations with Trump and his representatives prior to the search warrant, including a summons for the record and a visit by the FBI to Mar-a-Lago a few months earlier. Justice Department officials to assess how the documents were stored. The person was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Neither Trump nor the FBI have said anything about what documents the FBI may have recovered, or what agents were actually looking for. But the former president made a fresh complaint on Thursday about the search.

Trump, who has lambasted the FBI for years and sought to sow mistrust among his supporters in its decisions, said the warrant had been served and the search was carried out despite his cooperation with the Justice Department on the search.

In a post on his Truth social platform, Trump said that his “lawyers and representatives were cooperating fully” before the search, and that government officials were “whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, if our would have passed.”

The Justice Department has until Friday afternoon to alert the judge about whether Trump will object to the release.

The policy of the FBI and Department of Justice to discuss ongoing investigations is to protect the integrity of the investigation and to avoid unfairly defaming someone who is being investigated but ultimately not charged. cautions against. This is especially true in the case of search warrants, where court papers are routinely kept secret as the investigation progresses.

In this case, however, Garland cited the fact that Trump himself provided the first public confirmation of the FBI finding, “as is his right.” The Justice Department also said in its new filing that it would no longer disclose information that would harm court functions.

Still, Garland, in a hastily scheduled public statement from the Justice Department’s forum, appeared to acknowledge the unusual nature of the department’s request as he declined to question or provide any substantive details about the FBI’s investigation. done.

“Most of our work is essentially done out of the public eye. We do this to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans and to protect the integrity of our investigations.” stop. Time.”

The Justice Department under Garland provides information about public statements about a politically charged investigation, or the extent to which it confirms Trump’s investigation as part of a broader investigation into the January 6 riots at the US Capitol. may investigate and is attempting to reverse the results. 2020 election.

The department has tried to avoid being seen as injecting itself into presidential politics, as was the case in 2016 when then-FBI Director James Comey made an unusual public statement that the FBI was dealing with emails against Clinton. Will not recommend criminal charges in connection with — and that’s when he spoke again just a week before the election to inform Congress that the investigation was effectively being reopened due to the discovery of new emails.

The Mar-a-Lago search warrant granted on Monday was part of an ongoing Justice Department investigation into the search for classified White House records recovered from Trump’s home in Palm Beach, Florida earlier this year. The National Archives had asked the department to conduct an inquiry stating that 15 boxes recovered from the property contained classified records. Several federal laws govern the management of classified information.

The attorney general also condemned verbal attacks on FBI and Justice Department personnel over the searches. Some of Trump’s Republican allies have called for discrediting the FBI. A large number of Trump supporters have called for the warrant to be issued, in the hopes it would show that Trump was unfairly targeted.

“I will not stand quietly when their integrity is unfairly attacked,” Garland said of federal law enforcement agents, calling them “devoted, patriotic public servants.”

Earlier on Thursday, an armed man wearing body armor tried to break into a security check zone at an FBI field office in Ohio, then fled and was later killed after a standoff with law enforcement. A law enforcement officer with knowledge of the matter identified the man as Ricky Schiffer and said he was believed to have been in Washington during the attack on the Capitol and may have been there on the day it happened. Have you been


Associated Press writers Zeke Miller, Lindsay Whitehurst and Meg Kinnard contributed to this report.

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