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Trump calls for ‘immediate’ release from Mar-a-Lago’s tenure




WASHINGTON (AP) Former President Donald Trump called Thursday night for the immediate release of the federal warrant used by the FBI to search his Florida estate, hours after the Justice Department asked a court to unseal the warrant. , Attorney General Merrick Garland citing the significant public interest in the case.

In posts on his Truth Social platform, Trump wrote: Not only will I not oppose the release of documents…I go one step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of these documents. He continued to attack the FBI’s search for Mar-a-Lago as un-American, unwarranted, and unnecessary.

Release the documents now! he wrote.

The Justice Department’s request earlier Thursday is striking because those documents traditionally remain sealed pending an ongoing investigation. But the department appeared to recognize that its silence since the search had created a vacuum for bitter verbal attacks from Trump and his allies, and that the public was entitled to side with the FBI on what prompted Monday’s action at the home. of the former president.

The clear and powerful public interest in understanding what happened in those circumstances weighs heavily in favor of the unsealing, said a motion filed Thursday in federal court in Florida.

If the warrant is released, the request is now with the judge he could release unflattering information about the former president and the FBI’s review of his handling of sensitive government documents as he prepares for another race for the White House. During his successful campaign in 2016, he frequently pointed to an FBI investigation of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, into whether she mishandled classified information.

It is unclear at this stage how much information would be included in the documents, whether they were made public, or whether they would include an FBI affidavit that would presumably establish a detailed factual basis for the search. The department specifically requested the unsealing of the warrant along with a property receipt listing the items seized, along with two unspecified attachments.

To obtain a search warrant, federal authorities must prove to a judge that there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. Garland said he personally approved the warrant, a decision he said the department did not take lightly given that common practice is to select less intrusive tactics whenever possible. than a house search.

In this case, according to a person familiar with the matter, there was substantial engagement with Trump and his representatives prior to the search warrant, including a subpoena and visit to Mar-a-Lago a few months ago by FBI and Justice Department officials to assess how the documents were stored. The person was not authorized to discuss the case by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Neither Trump nor the FBI said anything about what documents the FBI might have recovered, or what specifically the agents were looking for. But the former president again complained Thursday about the search.

Trump, who for years lambasted the FBI and sought to sow suspicion among his supporters in his decisions, said the warrant was served and the search was carried out despite his cooperation with the Justice Department over the course of the search.

In a post on his Truth Social platform, Trump said his attorneys and representatives were cooperating fully before the raid and that government officials could have had whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, if we had it.

The Justice Department has until Friday afternoon to alert the judge to whether Trump will oppose the release.

FBI and Justice Department policy cautions against discussing ongoing investigations, both to protect the integrity of investigations and to avoid unfairly slandering someone who is being examined but ends up not being charged. This is especially true in the case of search warrants, where supporting court documents are routinely kept secret as the investigation progresses.

In this case, however, Garland cited the fact that Trump himself provided the first public confirmation of the FBI’s search, as is his right. The Department of Justice, in its new filing, also said that disclosing information about it would not harm the functions of the courts.

Even so, Garland, in a hastily released public statement from the Justice Department podium, appeared to acknowledge the unusual nature of the department’s request by declining to answer questions or provide substantive details about the investigation. from the FBI.

Much of our work is by necessity conducted out of sight of the public eye. We do this to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans and to protect the integrity of our investigations, he said. Federal law, long-standing department rules, and our ethical obligations prevent me from providing further details based on the research at this time.

The Justice Department under Garland has been wary of public statements about politically charged investigations, or confirming the extent to which it might investigate Trump as part of a larger probe into the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. and efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The department has tried to avoid being seen as injecting itself into presidential politics, as happened in 2016 when then-FBI Director James Comey made an unusual public statement announcing that the FBI would not recommend criminal charges against Clinton over his handling of emails and when he spoke again just over a week before the election to inform Congress that the investigation was indeed being reopened due to the discovery of new emails.

Mar-a-Lago’s search warrant served on Monday was part of an ongoing Justice Department investigation into the discovery of classified White House documents recovered from Trump’s home in Palm Beach, Florida, earlier this year. The National Archives had asked the department to investigate after it said 15 boxes of documents recovered from the estate included classified documents. Several federal laws govern the handling of classified information.

The attorney general also condemned the verbal attacks on FBI and Justice Department personnel during the search. Some Republican allies of Trump have called for the FBI’s funding to be cut. A large number of Trump supporters have called for the warrant to be released in the hope that it will show that Trump was unfairly targeted.

I will not remain silent when their integrity is unfairly attacked, Garland said of federal law enforcement officers, calling them dedicated and patriotic public servants.

Earlier Thursday, a gunman wearing a body armor attempted to enter a security screening area at an FBI field office in Ohio, then fled and was later killed after a confrontation with the law enforcement. A law enforcement official briefed on the case identified the man as Ricky Shiffer and said he would have been in Washington in the days leading up to the attack on the Capitol and could have be there on the day of the attack.


Associated Press writers Zeke Miller, Lindsay Whitehurst and Meg Kinnard contributed to this report.

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