U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland addressed the country on Thursday afternoon, making his first public statement since agents searched the home of former President Donald Trump.
Details of Garland’s Statement
Garland confirmed in his address that the Justice Department filed a request to unseal the search warrant and property receipt surrounding the raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home on Monday. It was also revealed on Thursday that Garland personally approved the decision to ask for a search warrant for the property.Read More »
In response to the request, a federal court in Florida told the Justice Department that they need to confer with Trump about the request to unseal the documents gathered in the Mar-a-Lago raid. The court set a deadline of 3 pm ET Friday for Trump to say if he opposes the release of the documents.
This puts the onus on Trump to comply with the request. The former president and his legal team have not yet commented on how they will proceed. Should Trump object to releasing the information, the issue will likely end up in court.
History of Investigation
The search warrant came after authorities with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) retrieved 15 boxes of official documents from Mar-a-Lago in January of 2022. According to the NARA, some of the documents had been torn up by the former president, requiring that officials tape them back together. The Presidential Records Act states that all documents and records created by a president be sent to the National Archives at the end of the term.
Later in June, the federal government served a grand jury subpoena to remove the sensitive national security documents from the property. It was at that time that prosecutors realized that there was the possibility that Trump was in possession of classified documents that could have serious national security implications if not seized.
The Monday search was focused on the personal living quarters as well as Trump’s office. The search marked the first time in U.S. history that a former president’s personal home was searched in response to an ongoing criminal investigation.
According to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal, the search was prompted after investigators received a tip about the potential of classified documents at Trump’s Florida home. The Secret Service was only given about an hour of lead time prior to agents arriving at Mar-a-Lago. Trump was not in Florida at the time of the search as he typically spends his summers at his home in New York City.
Reaction by the Right to the Raid
The news of the raid was broken by the former president himself. Trump issued a statement through his new social network, decrying the raid and calling it a witch hunt. Many Republican lawmakers have sided with Trump, criticizing the Justice Department by saying that the search was motivated by politics. Some right-leaning lawmakers are demanding more oversight at the Justice Department, going as far to suggest that the FBI should be defunded.
Allies of the former president have taken to the internet to threaten the life of Garland and other federal agents involved in the raid. For instance, the contact information of the federal judge who signed the search warrant has been removed from the Florida court’s website after he was threatened.
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