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AG Breaks Silence on FBI's Mar-a-Lago Search, Says DOJ Has Filed a Motion to Unseal Search Warrant

·2-min read
Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers a statement; Former President Donald Trump attends the UFC 264 event
Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers a statement; Former President Donald Trump attends the UFC 264 event

Bonnie Cash-Pool/Getty Images; Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC Merrick Garland, Donald Trump

United States Attorney General Merrick Garland delivered a brief, last-minute speech Thursday afternoon about the FBI search warrant executed at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence on Monday.

While he could not detail much about the investigation itself, he noted a few important things.

First, Garland said that the Department of Justice and FBI did not intend to publicize their search of Mar-a-Lago out of respect for Trump's right to privacy, but that after the former president made it public, it became clear that the DOJ needed to weigh in on the news dominating headlines.

RELATED: The FBI's Mar-a-Lago Search Stemmed from an Informant: Report

Garland informed Americans that in an effort to be transparent, the DOJ has just filed a motion in a Florida court to unseal the search warrant and property receipt so that the public can see basic details of their search.

Trump reportedly has the ability to release those documents independently of the court, but has not yet done so.

It is believed that the FBI's search was conducted in order to retrieve classified documents that Trump allegedly failed to turn over to the National Archives and Records Administration at the end of his presidency, though Garland did not confirm that detail in his speech.

RELATED: Unpacking the Far-Right Terminology Aiming to Discredit the Federal Investigation into Donald Trump

The attorney general also revealed that he personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant and that it was not a decision taken lightly, but was viewed as a necessary last resort in their investigation.

Garland made clear that while all Americans are entitled to the presumption of innocence, they are also entitled to the "even-handed application of the law" and the "due process of the law," suggesting that Trump is not above being investigated if there is probable cause that a crime was committed.

At the podium, Garland defended his agents as "dedicated, patriotic servants" subject to "unfounded attacks" right now by Trump allies.

RELATED: FBI Director Says Threats Against Agents After Mar-a-Lago Search Are 'Deplorable and Dangerous'

Just ahead of the remarks, Reuters reported that the White House was not given advance notice of Garland's last-minute press conference, further distancing President Joe Biden from the inner-workings of the Department of Justice.

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On Tuesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tried to make the DOJ's independence clear, claiming that Biden's team only learned of the Mar-a-Lago search warrant through news reports.