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Report that FBI wanted nuclear documents sharpens Trump confrontation with DOJ

(CNN)FBI agents reportedly searched for classified documents related to nuclear weapons at Report Donald Trump's Florida Resort described the urgency of the unprecedented surgery at the former president's home, taking the confrontation with the Justice Department to a grave new level.

An article in the Washington Post could also devalueRepublican Congressman. More typical of a despotic state. The latest development is the stakes in an escalating legal battle after Attorney General Merrick Garland called former commander-in-chief Bluff on Thursday in an unusual move to ask the court to open a search warrant and inventory of stolen property. Make more money House of cards.
The Post's report details reaffirm the confusion and accusations of President Trump, and the former president's likely run for the White House

Washington. The Post quoted people familiar with the investigation as saying that federal agents had searched Trump's resort for classified documents and other items related to nuclear weapons. Officials declined to provide details of the documents or whether they relate to nuclear weapons owned by the United States or another country. CNN has not independently verified the report.

But if it turns out that Trump had such material from the White House, it raises the question of why the former president would need such a closely guarded secret after leaving office. will arise. The possibility that such materials could be stored in unsecured guest-traffic facilities and potentially vulnerable to intrusion by foreign intelligence agencies would surprise government officials.

Trump has until 3:00 p.m. to appear in court as the court battle over the search rages on. ET will formally notify on Friday whether it will contest Garland's move.

In a statement on his Truth Social network late Thursday, the former president linked an "un-American, unjust and unnecessary raid and break-in" to his home. He said he would not object to the release of the documents. He did not say exactly which documents he was ready to see released. And the FBI search was not a break-in. It was legally sanctioned by a warrant approved by a judge who would have had to find the probable cause of the crime being committed.

Former President, your move

Garland's strategy was brilliant.

Search warrants are usually sealed to protect the applicant's reputation. But Trump himself broke the news of the search, thereby dashing his own expectations of privacy and creating a political stir that discredited his investigation. And if Trump fought to keep the documents sealed, it would look like he was hiding something.

"This is a professional move," his former FBI and CIA officer Phil Mudd said of Garland's actions in "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

"This is not a pawn move. It is a move of something between a rook and a queen." If the move could undermine Republican claims that the former president was being targeted by political victims, his lawyers would have to reason in court. The judge in the case, who has received death threats and abuse on social media from Trump supporters, will rule in favor of the Justice Department's move even though the former president wanted the information to remain confidential. there is a possibility.

"This is what it looks like when you see the rule of law fight back against Trump's lies," Nick Ackerman, assistant US attorney for the Southern District of New York, told CNN's Erin Barnett.

"I think it's very unlikely that Donald Trump will win here." a clear attempt to push back the anger of Lawmakers, media commentators and Trump supporters have unleashed the unlikely claim that the United States is now little more than a police state with a Gestapo-like secret police and is mired in tyranny.

When she decided to stand in front of the Justice Department cameras, Garland not only called Trump a bluff, but also under pressure from Republican leaders who demanded to know the legitimacy of the search. succumbed. He claimed that every step of the investigation was done with caution and tried to protect his department and the judicial process. His brief appearance, in which he was not questioned, was scripted to refute certain criticisms and unruly conspiracy theories on the right.

"Fidelity to the rule of law is a fundamental principle of the Department of Justice and of democracy," said Garland.

"To uphold the rule of law means to apply the law fairly, without fear or favor," he said, adding that he was accused of committing a crime. In some cases, even former presidents implied that they were not protected. Garland also spoke forcefully in defense of the rank-and-file employees of the FBI and the Justice Department, calling them "dedicated and patriotic public servants."

The Attorney General's remarks were a dramatic moment for Washington, demonstrating the extraordinary sensitivity and importance of the investigation into the former president. Generally, the FBI says little about ongoing investigations unless someone is indicted.

An unsealed search warrant cannot comprehensively establish whether the Justice Department's move against Trump was justified or went too far. But Garland's initiative suggests the firm confidence the agency is building against Trump in any case. It also shows that he supports the decision to proceed with the investigation from above. Clearly, that would provoke an exceptionally fierce backlash from President Trump.

The notion that the whole incident was nothing more than a politically motivated conspiracy hatched by legal hacking, a key Trump argument against this, has become implausible after Garland. became.

Trump's decision

Trump's attorneys have not yet responded to the DOJ's allegations.

For the former president he seems to have three options. He was able to release an inventory of search warrants and items that the FBI had taken away from his resort. He can comply with the Bureau's request to be held by a court. He may also oppose publication of the warrant.

The former president broke news of his FBI investigation on a political screed Monday night, violating his own privacy, making the latter option seem unlikely in the logical universe. Seem. The Justice Department basically argued in court filings that the public's interest in knowing the real reasons leading to the investigation outweighed Trump's interest in keeping the details secret. there is Public interest is arguably even greater in light of the Post's coverage of nuclear documents.

"It would be very strange and strange for him to come back now and say, 'I don't want to do this,'" said Professor Jared Carter of Vermont Law School.

But Trump is not following the usual rules. Given his lifelong record of exhausting all legal options to thwart accountability, and the incompetence of the judicial and political institutions that hold him back, counterintuitive legal strategies cannot be ruled out.

Whether the former president will carry out his promise not to oppose the release of documents on the matter is likely to become clear on Friday.

Republicans change goalposts

Reports that the FBI is searching Mar-a-Lago for nuclear documents have attacked the Bureau and the judiciary. It raises new questions for Republicans who have been searching for departments without any apparent knowledge of what it was.

Even without that context, Garland's move early Thursday should soften Republican calls to speak publicly about the search and release the warrant. But as soon as the Attorney General stopped talking, leading Republicans demanded more.

"What I'm looking for is a search predicate," Republican Senator Lindsay Graham said in a statement.

“Was the information provided to the judge sufficient and necessary to authorize a raid on the former president within 90 days of the midterm elections? Why was this course of action necessary? See the table for what," added the Trump ally in South Carolina.

Garland sought the opening of a search warrant, which may have been accompanied by an inventory of documents removed from Trump's residence, but which may have been the cause of the crime. We did not seek the opening of an affidavit intended to show support for the warrant application. As such, Graham is seeking action that violates long-standing Justice Department guidelines, and that he could undermine the criminal proceedings the FBI may ultimately impose against the former president. I filed an appeal knowingly.

Trump himself responded to Garland's on-camera appearance with his one of his signature "witch hunt" posts on his social media networks. .

It is impossible to verify the statements of a former president who understandably lied during his tenure. But some of Trump's earlier claims that he was targeted in a surprise "raid" and "siege" by FBI agents were undermined by Thursday's developments. For example, CNN's Evan Perez, Gabby Orr, and Pamela Brown report that a federal agent served an earlier grand jury subpoena, and in June he took documents from Mar-a-Lago. Did. This appears to indicate that Monday's search was a last resort, supporting Garland's claim that the FBI took steps to minimize the disruption caused by the search.

But the Attorney General is also trying a strategy that has repeatedly failed under Trump. He uses facts and legal norms to break down his walls of lies and falsehoods.

Some Trump supporters have already put forward another conspiracy theory. The FBI planted documents in the former president's residence.

Nearly two years after Trump lost the last election, the country faces a daunting new challenge to the rule of law from a former president who has been impeached twice.

Facts and truth once again became the first victims.

This story has been updated with additional developments.