Justice Department Files Motion to Unseal Search Warrant, Receipt From Trump Raid
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Merrick Garland broke his silence on Monday’s raid on the Palm Beach, Florida, home of former President Donald Trump, announcing that the Justice Department has filed a motion in the federal court in South Florida to unseal the search warrant and property receipt for items seized from the premises.
Garland went on to say that he personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, adding that “the department does not take such a decision lightly.”
“Where possible [it] is standard practice to seek less intrusive means as an alternative to a search and to narrowly scope any search that is undertaken,” he said.
Garland and the FBI have been under fire from Republicans since the nine-hour search of the Trump residence at the high-profile golf resort.
In addition to being blasted by Trump acolytes, the attorney general and federal law enforcement officials had been criticized by cooler heads for simply making no information about the search and what the officers were looking for available to the public.
“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,” Garland said in answer to those critics. “Under my watch, that is precisely what the Justice Department is doing.
“Much of our work is by necessity conducted out of the public eye,” he continued. “We do that to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans. And to protect the integrity of our investigations.”
Garland did not mention either Trump or Mar-a-Lago by name during his brief remarks, nor did he answer any questions from the reporters gathered in the room.
“The search warrant was authorized by a federal court upon the required finding of probable cause,” Garland said of what he referred to as a search “of a premises located in Florida, belonging to the former president.”
“The department did not make any public statements on the day of the search,” the attorney general said. “The former president publicly confirmed the search that evening, as is his right.”
Garland said copies of both the warrant and the FBI property receipt were provided to Trump’s representative at the property before the agents left the home Monday evening.
The attorney general went on to explain the Department of Justice filed its motion to make the search warrant and property receipt public “in light of the former president’s public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances, and the substantial public interest in this matter.”
“All Americans are entitled to the even-handed application of the law, to due process of the law and to the presumption of innocence,” he said.
Garland went on to address what he called the “recent unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors.
“I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked,” he said. “The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated, patriotic public servants every day. They protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism and other threats to their safety while safeguarding our civil rights. They do so at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves.”
He added: “I am honored to work alongside them.”