Attorney General Merrick Garland is making a statement at 2:30 PM ET on Thursday, following days of public silence since the FBI searched Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property on Monday. That search was reportedly for classified documents Trump had taken with him when he left White House, and it has given rise to huge amounts of Republican conspiracy theories, as well as broader public pressure for the Justice Department to offer up information.
But Garland’s Thursday statement is no guarantee that this silence will be broken, since Thursday has also seen an armed man attempt to breach an FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio.
CNN has reported that Garland will be addressing the search of Mar-a-Lago.
Garland opens by saying he has always made clear that the Justice Department will speak through its work. And that’s what the DOJ is doing now, filing to unseal the warrant.
Garland notes that the warrant and property receipt were provided to Trump at the time of the search. He emphasizes that the warrant was done by the book and authorized by a judge.
Garland goes on to say that the search was in line with his and the department’s ethic of applying justice equally, without fear or favor.
Condemning attacks on the FBI and DOJ since the search, Garland says, “I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked.”
As expected, Garland keeps his remarks very short and pretty general, emphasizing that he cannot say more, that everything is being done according to the law and DOJ procedure. One piece of news is his confirmation that he personally signed off on the warrant.
CNN’s Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor, emphasizes that by asking for the warrant and receipt to be unsealed, Garland is in effect calling Trump’s bluff—Trump has had those documents and could have released them himself.
Here’s the motion, and a key passage: “That said, the former President should have an opportunity to respond to this Motion and lodge objections, including with regards to any ‘legitimate privacy interests’ or the potential for other ‘injury’ if these materials are made public. Romero, 480 F.3d at 1246. To that end, the government will furnish counsel for the former President with a copy of this Motion.”
Garland is a very mild-mannered guy, but he is—with good reason—visibly angry about the attacks on the FBI and DOJ since the search:
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