Justice Department files motion to unseal warrant in Trump search

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday that he personally approved the search warrant executed this week on former President Donald Trump's Mar-A-Lago residence. Pool Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/UPI

Aug. 11 (UPI) — U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday said the Justice Department has filed a legal motion in the southern district of Florida to unseal the warrant and FBI property receipt in the search of former President Donald Trump‘s Mar-A-Lago residence.

“The Justice Department has filed a motion in the southern district of Florida to unseal a search warrant and property receipt relating to a court approved search the FBI conducted earlier this week,” Garland said. “That search was a premises in southern Florida belonging to the former president.”

Garland said he personally approved the search warrant, which was executed on Monday. He said Trump’s counsel was given a copy of the search warrant and FBI property receipt at Mar-A-Lago on Monday during the search.

“The department filed a motion to make public 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 bedrock principle of the Justice Department and of our democracy. Upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly without fear or favor. Under my watch, that is precisely what the Justice Department is doing.”

Judicial Watch announced Thursday that Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart ordered the Department of Justice to file a response to Judicial Watch’s motion to unseal the warrant.

Judicial Watch said in a statement that the New York Times and Albany Times Union had joined them in filing for the unsealing of the warrant.

The Attorney General also said during his Thursday he will not stay silent when FBI professionalism and the Justice Department are under attack.

“I will not stand by silently while their integrity is unfairly attacked,” Garland said.

Garland said he has made it clear that the Justice Department will speak through court filings and its work.

Copies of both the warrant and FBI property receipt were provided to Trump’s counsel, Garland said, and the search warrant was authorized by a court upon probable cause.

Agents searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Fla., on Monday night. As expected, the search under authority of a judge’s warrant drew backlash from Trump, who criticized the operation as politically motivated.

The FBI carried out the warrant as part of a court-authorized search related to an investigation into potential mishandling of classified documents that ended up at Mar-a-Lago.

All presidential records are required to go to the National Archives when a president leaves office.

For nearly a year, Trump delayed giving the documents to the Archives.

The agency eventually referred the case to the Justice Department, which is also investigating Republican efforts in Georgia to swing the 2020 election in Trump’s favor and the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

In obtaining the search warrant, the FBI persuaded a judge that there was probable cause that a crime had been committed and that evidence might be found at Mar-a-Lago.

As Trump supporters took to social media to accuse the Biden administration and FBI of weaponizing the Justice Department, some far-right Trump supporters threatened violence against the FBI and federal government.

On Thursday, in Cincinnati, an armed man tried to get into the FBI office there, then fled and was surrounded in a corn field by the FBI and police after exchanging fire with law enforcement.

Authorities in Clinton County, Ohio, also continued Thursday afternoon to confront a suspect who tried to breach the FBI Cincinnati Field Office while armed earlier in the day and later exchanged gunfire with officers, authorities said.


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