Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a brief, televised statement from the Department of Justice on Thursday afternoon, regarding the FBI’s Aug. 8 search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Fla. That unprecedented search of a former POTUS’ home was part of a larger investigation into Trump’s removal of official presidential records from the White House to his Mar-a-Lago estate.
Among other things, Garland announced that the DOJ has filed a motion to unseal the warrant for the Mar-a-Lago search. He also vehemently defended the integrity of the FBI agents who carried out the raid, in the wake of unfounded, conspiratorial claims about their process.
“Federal law, longstanding department rules, and our ethical obligations prevent me from providing further details as to the basis of the search at this time,” he made clear, shortly before wrapping his brief remarks.
The U.S. Presidential Records Act requires the preservation of letters, notes, emails, memos and other written communications related to a president’s official duties. The U.S. Justice Department in April launched an investigation into Trump’s relocation of such records to Mar-a-Lago, after the U.S. National Archives & Records Administration recovered, with Trump’s cooperation, about 15 boxes of documents from Mar-a-Lago — some of which contained classified materials.
Trump — who was at his New York City home at the time of the FBI search — said at the time in a lengthy statement, “These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents.
“Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before,” Trump continued, quite accurately, before characterizing the FBI’s actions as “not necessary or appropriate” but, in his opinion, “prosecutorial misconduct, the weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024.
“The political persecution of President Donald J. Trump has been going on for years,” he suggested. “It is political targeting at the highest level!”