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Home U.S. Garland Moves to Release Details on F.B.I. Search of Trump’s Home

Garland Moves to Release Details on F.B.I. Search of Trump’s Home

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Attorney General Merrick B. Garland moved to thursday A classified program operated by the United States to release legal authorization for the FBI to search the home of former President Donald J. Trump in Florida.

Garland said he personally authorized the search after Trump’s unsuccessful attempts to retrieve the materials he took from the White House in a “non-intrusive” manner.

Garland did not provide details. However, a person briefed on the matter said investigators were concerned about material from what the government called a “special access program” or the use of closely held technology and capabilities. case.

According to another person familiar with the Justice Department’s thinking, leaving classified materials in Trump’s home could make him vulnerable to attempts by foreign adversaries to obtain them, officials said. It expresses concern that

In a short two-minute statement to reporters at Justice Department headquarters, Garland said he decided to break his silence and issue a public statement because Trump himself had made his actions clear. also cited the “surroundings” of the incident and the “substantial public interest in the matter.”

But Garland also used a brief court appearance to defend the Justice Department’s handling of the case, at least tacitly, against the barrage of criticism directed at him and his allies.

“Upholding the rule of law means applying the law fairly, without fear or favor,” Garland said. “Under my watch, that’s exactly what the Department of Justice is doing.”

Minutes before Garland took the podium, a senior official with the Department of Justice’s national security division filed a motion to open the search warrant and inventory of items recovered in Monday’s search.

The inventory provided to Trump’s team after the search is unlikely to reveal details of specific documents he had in his custody, but cited a series of classified materials, according to people familiar with the matter. there is

Late Thursday night, Trump said he would not oppose the warrant and the motion to release the inventory.

He wrote on his social media site Truth Social that he was “encouraging” their release. “Get the papers out!” he said.

Judge Bruce Reinhart, the federal magistrate for the Southern District of Florida who is processing the motion to approve and open the search warrant, has asked the Justice Department to serve a copy of the motion to Trump’s attorneys. issued an order to The Justice Department said it has until 3 p.m. Friday to tell a judge whether Trump has dissented from the allegations.

Mr. Garland’s remarks were a challenge to Mr. Trump, who has freely permitted the release of search warrants and lists of items taken during investigations, which he declined. Many Trump supporters and Republicans have asked Garland to explain his decision, adding political complexity or hypocrisy to Trump’s decision to oppose releasing the search warrant.

The Justice Department did not seek the release of an affidavit containing more information about Trump’s actions and evidence presented by others used to obtain the warrant.

Despite Garland’s public statements continuing to suggest that Trump may soon announce his re-running for the White House, a wide-ranging series of investigations into the former president on multiple fronts has led. It was announced at an unusual time as it is gaining momentum.

Trump exercised his Fifth Amendment right to self-incrimination Wednesday in a civil investigation into his business practices by the New York Attorney General. An investigation into Trump’s efforts to stay in power despite losing the 2020 election.

Garland also said law enforcement officers shot dead a man who tried to break into the FBI’s Cincinnati office on Thursday. It was investigating whether it had ties to extremist groups, including groups that took part in the attack on the Capitol on January 6.

Monday’s raid on Trump’s home at his personal club, Mar-a-Lago, was the most explosive development yet in the various investigations. The investigation will focus on whether he improperly removed classified materials from the White House at the end of his term and failed to return all materials, including classified documents, when requested by the National Archives and the Department of Justice. .

Months before the FBI arrived in Mar-a-Lago, Trump received a subpoena for documents he believed federal agents had neglected to turn over this spring, returning 15 boxes of material to the archives. . three people familiar with the matter said.

The existence of the subpoena helped flesh out the chain of events that led to the search, and after the Department of Justice attempted a warrantless method to account for the material, it unannounced FBI agents in March. suggesting that they took the politically explosive step of sending -a-Lago.

Garland didn’t mention the subpoena when he appeared on Thursday, but said “it’s standard practice to seek non-intrusive means if possible” before the search took place. It indicated that other means had been tried.

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Two individuals who briefed investigators on classified documents that they believed remained in Mar-a-Lago said they had been denied access to the judiciary because the documents were highly classified and related to national security. It showed that the Ministry had to take action.

the subpoena is first disclosed John Solomon is a conservative journalist who was also named by Trump as one of the representatives of the National Archives.

The subpoena exists because Trump supporters allege that the former president and his team cooperated with the State Department in identifying and returning the documents in question and that the investigation was illegitimate. used for

Trump’s attorney, Christina Bob, did not respond to the message. It is not clear what exact materials the subpoena sought or what documents the former president provided.

The subpoena was considered when the Justice Department’s chief counterintelligence officer, Jay Blatt, visited Mar-a-Lago in early June with a small group of other federal officials, one of the people said. It was something

Officials met with Trump’s attorney, Evan Corcoran. Trump, who likes to play host and has a long history of trying to entice officials about his methods, also appeared. During the visit, officials examined an underground storage area where the former president kept supplies brought from the White House.

A few days after the visit, Mr. Blatt sent Mr. Corcoran an email telling him to keep the rest of the documents in a storage area with a stronger padlock, he said.Mail is The Wall Street Journal previously reported.

They then summoned surveillance footage from the club. This may have given officials a glimpse of who was entering and leaving the storage area. The person said he received footage of

Around the same time, three people familiar with the matter said they had some knowledge of how Trump stored and moved documents around the White House, and many of them still work for him. It is said that the investigator was in contact with his aides.

Among those contacted by investigators was Molly Michael, who was Trump’s assistant outside the Oval Office and worked for Trump at Mar-a-Lago. .

Investigators also contacted former White House secretary Derek Lyons, who has not worked for Trump since Dec. 18, 2020, to review the document handling process, according to people familiar with the matter. asked about outreach.

Federal officials have come to believe that Trump did not give up all the documents he left in the White House at the end of his term, according to three people familiar with the investigation.

Less than two months after Bratt and other officials visited Trump’s home, about 20 FBI agents wore the FBI logo, which they typically wear during searches. I showed up at Mar-a-Lago purposely without a blue windbreaker. warrant.

Club closed. Mr. Trump was in the New York area. The FBI surprised the crew fixing a large fountain, the maids dusting it off, and the handful of Secret Service agents guarding the complex.

The search warrant was extensive, allowing agents to search every area of ​​the club where classified material could be stored. They made their way through the basement, Mr. Trump’s office, and at least part of his residence at the club.

After hours of searching, they left behind several boxes that were not filled to the brim and in some cases contained sealed envelopes of materials stolen by investigators. said one person familiar with the search.

The person said he left a two-page manifesto showing what the FBI stole. If the manifest is made public, it may be heavily redacted to protect sensitive information.

Some senior Republicans have been warned by Trump supporters not to continue to actively criticize the Justice Department and FBI on the issue, as it could expose more damaging information related to the investigation. ing.

When Trump left the White House, he took with him a box of miscellaneous papers, raincoats, golf balls and other items. After Trump resigned as president, the National Archives held lengthy discussions with Trump’s representatives to obtain what the Archives should properly store under the Presidential Records Act. I tried to retrieve.

When archivists recovered 15 boxes this year, they found several pages of classified material and referred the matter to the Department of Justice. Officials later came to believe that additional classified materials remained on Mar-a-Lago.

Garland, a former middle-level prosecutor, turned himself in on Thursday, accusing Trump and his supporters that the Bureau of Investigation investigators and Justice Department attorneys were politically motivated or acted inappropriately in the course of the case. I strongly objected to the allegation. Requesting and Enforcing Search Warrants.

“I’m not going to stand by while their integrity is being unfairly attacked,” Garland said.

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said in an internal email earlier in the day that he would adjust the FBI’s “security posture” as needed. He also defended the work of agents involved in the Trump case.

“We do not cut corners,” he writes. “We don’t play favourites.”

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