US Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday condemned Donald Trump’s “baseless attacks” on his department and the FBI.
Democratic Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday he “personally authorized the FBI’s spectacular search Monday at former President Donald Trump’s Florida home,” an unprecedented raid that angered the Republican camp.
During an extraordinary press conference, Merrick Garland did not divulge the reasoning or results of this operation, but did announce, very unusually, that he had requested the search warrant be released.
“I personally endorsed the decision to seek a search warrant on this case,” Merrick Garland said during a brief televised intervention, in which he also denounced “unfounded attacks” by Republicans on his health, judiciary and FBI agencies. “The Department does not take this type of decision lightly,” he said, adding that it was upheld by a federal judge. Merrick Garland insisted “ethical obligations” prevented him from giving the reasons for the search and said he had asked a Florida judge to lift the warrant’s confidentiality. In particular, he stressed that Donald Trump had confirmed this search and that the case was of “important public interest” three months before the general election.
Donald Trump, who received a copy of the warrant but did not release it, said in a statement overnight Thursday that “not only would (he) not oppose the release of the documents, but (that he) would go further by ENCOURAGING their immediate release”. Does the federal police search have anything to do with the many boxes Donald Trump took when he left the White House in January 2021? Is it related to the investigation into his responsibility for the attack on the Capitol? Is it more about the investigations in New York into financial and tax fraud against him, his children Ivanka and Donald Jr. and the Trump Organization? When asking for the warrant’s confidentiality to be lifted, the Justice Department, without contradicting them, cited testimony from Donald Trump officials that suggested the FBI was searching for archival White House documents that may have been classified as classified defense. According to Thursday night’s Washington Post, some of the documents being sought relate to nuclear weapons.
This unprecedented FBI search for a former President of the United States took place Monday at Donald Trump’s luxury residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. Outraged, the 45th American president told his social network Truth Social that his lawyers “fully” cooperated with authorities on Monday when “Mar-a-Lago suddenly and without warning at 6:30 a.m. was invaded by a VERY large number of agents”. He complained that FBI agents “searched the First Lady’s (Melania) closets and searched her clothing and personal belongings.” On Wednesday, the billionaire even hinted that the FBI could “seize” evidence against him in the operation.
Never before had a former White House tenant been so concerned about the judiciary. Republican sympathizers, although known to usually show their support for law enforcement, have vehemently criticized the FBI. The Federal Police Officers Association has called “incitements to violence against the police” “unacceptable” and FBI Director Christopher Wray has denounced “baseless attacks” that “undermine respect for the rule of law.” On Thursday, a gunman who tried to break into an FBI office in Ohio was killed by law enforcement after a long standoff.
In the course of the search, the Republican tenors allied themselves with their ex-president, who did not recognize his defeat in 2020 against Democrat Joe Biden and wants to run again in 2024. Former Vice President Mike Pence, himself a potential rival to Donald Trump in two years, expressed his “deep concern” after the FBI raid.
The Republican businessman underwent a sworn testimony Wednesday at the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James. However, according to NBC and the Washington Post, he invoked his right not to answer questions under the US Constitution’s Fifth Amendment more than 440 times over a four-hour period. The New York state chief justice has been investigating allegations of financial and tax fraud within the Trump Organization family group since 2019.