US asks judge to unseal warrant that searched Trump’s home

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WASHINGTON, Aug 11 (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday asked a judge to release the warrant authorizing an FBI search of Donald Trump’s Florida home, after the former president attacked the search as a act of political reprisal.

The request means the public could learn more about what investigators were looking for at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach on Monday during the unprecedented search of a former president’s home.

The search was part of an investigation into whether Trump illegally removed White House files as he left office, some of which the Justice Department says are classified.

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Attorney General Merrick Garland, the nation’s top law enforcement official, told a news conference that he personally endorsed the decision to order the search. The department is also seeking to release a redacted receipt for the items seized.

“The department does not make such a decision lightly. Wherever possible, it is standard practice to seek less intrusive means as an alternative to a search and to tightly limit any search undertaken,” Garland said.

His decision to publicly confirm the research was highly unusual. Law enforcement officials in the United States generally do not discuss ongoing investigations to protect people’s rights. In this case, Trump himself announced the search in a statement late Monday.

Garland said the Justice Department made the request “in light of the former president’s public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances and the substantial public interest in this matter.”

A source familiar with the matter said the FBI recovered about 10 boxes from Trump’s property during the search.

WILL TRUMP’S LAWYERS OBJECT?

It was unclear whether Trump’s legal team would object to the release of the warrant, which could shed light on the nature of the investigation.

The government has until 3 p.m. ET (1900 GMT) on Friday to let the court know whether Trump’s lawyers will oppose the unsealing. The case is before US Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who reviewed the warrant to ensure the Justice Department had sufficient probable cause for the search.

While seeking to unseal the warrant, the Justice Department did not ask the judge to unseal the affidavit supporting the warrant, the contents of which could potentially include classified information.

Two of Trump’s lawyers, Evan Corcoran and John Rowley, did not respond to a request for comment.

In a statement on his Truth social network, Trump said, “My lawyers and representatives were cooperating fully and a very good relationship had been established. The government could have had whatever it wanted, had we had it.”

CLIMBING PROBE

The unprecedented search marked a significant escalation in one of many federal and state investigations Trump has faced since taking office and in the private sector, including a separate Justice Department probe into a failed attempt by Trump allies. to cancel the 2020 presidential election. by submitting false voter lists. Read more

The investigation into Trump’s deletion of the records began earlier this year, after the National Archives fired the department. Read more

Former archivist David Ferriero previously said Trump returned 15 boxes to the government in January 2022. The archive later discovered that some of the items were “marked as classified national security information.”

Months before the search, FBI agents visited Trump’s property to investigate boxes in a locked storage room, according to a person familiar with the visit.

Officers and Corcoran spent a day reviewing the documents, the source said. A second source who had been briefed on the matter told Reuters the Justice Department also had surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago.

Garland’s Justice Department has faced heavy criticism and online threats since Monday’s raid. Trump supporters and some of his fellow Republicans in Washington accuse Democrats of weaponizing federal bureaucracy to target Trump.

In Cincinnati, Ohio, on Thursday, a gunman suspected of trying to enter the FBI building later died following an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement officers, an official said. responsible for the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Garland condemned the threats and attacks against the FBI and the Justice Department. “I will not remain silent when their integrity is unfairly attacked,” he said.

Some Democrats have criticized Garland for being too cautious in probing Trump over his attempts to reverse his 2020 election loss to Biden.

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Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Karen Freifeld; additional reporting from Andy Sullivan, David Morgan, Mike Scarcella Kanishka Singh, Eric Beech and Steve Holland; Editing by Scott Malone, Daniel Wallis and Howard Goller

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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