Attorney General Merrick Garland said federal prosecutors have filed a motion in court to unseal the warrant used in the unprecedented search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home.
Breaking his silence, the nation’s top law enforcement official said the Department of Justice agrees that there is a “substantial public interest” in releasing the search warrant as well as an inventory of what was taken in the search of the Mar-a-Lago club on Monday.
It was not immediately clear if and when the unsealing request, filed in federal court in Miami, might be granted or when the documents could be released.
“Upholding the rule of law means enforcing the law without fear or favor,” Garland said.
Garland also said that he personally approved the search warrant, which was part of an ongoing Justice Department investigation into the discovery of classified White House records recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida earlier this year.
He also defended the FBI and prosecutors who have come under intense fire
“I will not stand by idly while their integrity is maligned,” Garland said. “Every day they protect the American people while safeguarding our civil rights.”
The DoJ’s standard practice is to not publicly reveal details about ongoing investigations, although it is permitted to make exceptions in the interests of justice.
Garland’s statement came after reports surfaced that a federal grand jury slapped former Trump with a subpoena for classified documents in the spring, more than two months before this week’s shocking raid on his Mar-a-Lago resort.
After serving the subpoena, the FBI removed some documents from Trump’s home on June 8 but later tipped off by an unidentified person that the ex-president illegally kept some sensitive national security documents.
The new information led authorities to take the unprecedented step of obtaining and executing a search warrant for the Florida estate of a former president.
The drama over Trump’s documents started when he improperly took boxes of presidential documents, including some that were classified, when he left office in January 2021 and flew to Mar-a-Lago.
The National Archives demanded the return of documents in January 2022 and referred the matter to the Justice Department.
Trump green-lighted the return of about 15 boxes of materials, claiming they were inadvertently taken to his home.
But officials soon realized that more documents were missing and apparently had not been returned by Trump. They obtained a subpoena for the return of the documents and served that subpoena on June 8.
Trump’s lawyers met with investigators and the former president reportedly even cordially greeted the G-men at the palatial club on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in Palm Beach.
Some of the additional materials that had not been turned over then were handed over. Others were stored in a basement room at Mar-a-Lago, and were not immediately taken for reasons that remain unclear.
Prosecutors also got a subpoena for security footage to determine who had access to the materials, some of which are considered important for national security.
It’s unclear if Trump complied with the subpoena for the footage.