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US attorney general says ‘personally approved’ Trump home search


Local law enforcement officers in front of the Mar-a-Lago home of former president Donald Trump in Palm Beach, Florida

US Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday he had “personally approved” the dramatic raid on Donald Trump’s Florida estate and, in a highly unusual move, was requesting the warrant justifying the search be made public.

The country’s top prosecutor did not reveal the reason for the unprecedented search of the home of a former US president, and condemned “unfounded attacks” on the FBI and the Justice Department that followed it.

While noting that “ethical obligations” prevented him detailing the basis of the raid, Garland said he had asked a Florida judge to unseal the warrant because Trump had publicly confirmed the search and there is “substantial public interest in this matter.”

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Some analysts suggested Garland was effectively daring him to block the motion, given that Trump has insisted the raid was baseless and politically motivated.

The Justice Department motion to unseal the warrant noted — and did not dispute — statements by Trump’s representatives that the FBI was seeking presidential records and potential classified material.

The Washington Post on Thursday cited anonymous sources close to the investigation as saying that classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the papers sought by the FBI agents during the raid.

– Political firestorm –

In a statement on his Truth Social platform on Thursday, Trump said his attorneys had been “cooperating fully” and “the government could have had whatever they wanted, if we had it.”

Leading Republicans have rallied around Trump, and some members of his party have harshly denounced the Justice Department and FBI, accusing them of partisanship in targeting the former president.

An armed man was shot dead by police on Thursday after trying to break into an FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio, police said.

The Justice Department typically does not confirm or deny whether it is investigating someone, and Garland — a former prosecutor and judge who has a reputation as a stickler for protocol — took pains to emphasize the law was being applied fairly.

Since leaving office, Trump has remained the country’s most divisive figure and a force in the Republican party, continuing to sow falsehoods that he actually won the 2020 vote.

Trump is also facing legal scrutiny for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and over the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by his supporters.

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