WASHINGTON - Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday spoke publicly for the first time about this week's FBI search of former president Donald Trump’s Florida estate, explaining that he's asked the judge to unseal details of the search warrant.
Garland also that he personally approved the search warrant, which was part of an ongoing Justice Department investigation into the discovery of classified White House records recovered from Trump's Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida earlier this year.
It was not immediately clear if and when the unsealing request, filed in federal court in Miami, might be granted or when the documents could be released. The president's attorneys have a chance to object.
Before Garland's remarks, there had been no high-level comment from the Justice Department since federal agents spent most of the day Monday at Trump’s winter home, reportedly retrieving documents and even opening a safe.
While Republicans have rallied behind Trump, very few facts about the case have been released publicly. Trump's attorneys have so far declined to release details from the search warrant, and the former president – who was in New York at the time of the search – has suggested on social media that agents could have been planting evidence at his home.
Mar-a-Lago, seen from the air.
A spokesperson for the vacationing President Biden later told reporters that the president was not informed ahead of the search.
Prosecutors in Washington and Georgia are also investigating Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election he falsely claimed was stolen. The Jan. 6 congressional commission has exposed damning details about Trump's behavior from Republican witnesses in recent hearings, which have prompted new concerns, at least privately, among the GOP establishment and donor class.
And on Wednesday, Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination as he testified under oath Wednesday in the New York attorney general’s long-running civil investigation into his business dealings.
U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Department of Justice August 2, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Garland’s comments are scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET. You can watch live in the player above.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.