U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday he personally authorized federal investigators to seek a court warrant to search former President Donald Trump’s Florida home in connection with an ongoing FBI investigation into Trump’s handling of White House records.
In a brief televised statement, Garland announced the Justice Department has asked a federal court in Florida to unseal the search warrant as well as property receipt to Trump’s representatives.
“The department decided to file the motion to make public the warrant and the receipt in light of the former president’s public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances, and the substantial public interest in this matter,” said Garland.
Defending the Justice Department’s decision to search Trump’s home, Garland said “the department does not take such a decision lightly.”
The attorney general’s comments came after Republican politicians denounced Monday’s search of Trump’s home as weaponization of the Justice Department and demanded an explanation.
The FBI has been probing Trump’s handling of White House records since the National Archives said that it had belatedly retrieved 15 boxes of White House material, including some classified information, and called for an examination.
During Monday’s search, the FBI took several boxes of documents from Trump’s property.
A federal magistrate signed the warrant to search Trump’s home after determining that the FBI had probable cause to enter his home, Garland said.
Trump was in New York when the FBI searched his Florida residence but he took to his Truth Social Platform to announce it as it was in progress, writing “Nothing like this has ever happened to a president of the United States before.”