Warrant used to search Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate will be made public, U.S. AG says

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The U.S. Department of Justice has asked a court to unseal the search warrant used by the FBI to enter Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate this week, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday.

In his first public comments since Monday’s unprecedented search of the former U.S. president’s home, Garland said the motion to unseal was filed “given the substantial public interest in this matter,” as well as Trump’s own statements.

Garland, the nation’s top law enforcement official, said he had personally approved the decision to search Trump’s home. He added he did “not take such a decision lightly.”

Trump first broke the news Monday evening that FBI agents had come to his estate in Florida and searched multiple rooms, alleging they also opened his personal safe.

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It was later reported that agents were seeking documents and other items Trump allegedly took with him from the White House to Florida at the end of his presidency, some of which were believed to be confidential material — a federal crime.

It is not yet known if FBI agents found anything at Mar-a-Lago, or exactly what materials authorities were seeking.

 'FBI’s unprecedented search of Trump’s home stirs Republican outrage' 2:47 FBI’s unprecedented search of Trump’s home stirs Republican outrage

FBI’s unprecedented search of Trump’s home stirs Republican outrage

Garland has been under intense pressure from both political parties to provide more details about the evidence that led to a federal judge approving the warrant.

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The attorney general, FBI director Christopher Wray and the judge himself have faced online death threats from supporters of Trump, while Republicans have accused the Justice Department and FBI of being politicized, which Garland condemned Thursday.

“I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked,” he said. “The men and women of the FBI and Justice Department are dedicated, patriotic public servants … I am honoured to serve alongside them.”

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He did not share more on the case beyond confirming Trump’s lawyers were present during the search and were given a copy of the warrant by FBI agents. He said he could speak further on the details of the evidence because of the ongoing investigation.

Yet the motion to unseal also appeared to recognize that the absence of any public statements about the search before Garland’s brief address had only further whipped up speculation about the case, creating space for political attacks from both sides. Republicans have been fundraising off the search, which comes months before November’s midterm elections that will determine control of Congress.

Although warrants and other materials in an ongoing investigation are usually kept under seal, the motion argues that because of Trump’s public statements and comments made by his lawyers and other members of his team to the media, some of the details contained within the warrant are already known.

“The public’s clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred under these circumstances weighs heavily in favor of unsealing,” said a motion filed in federal court in Florida on Thursday seeking the the unsealing.

More to come…

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