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Trump says he won't oppose move to unseal Mar-a-Lago search warrant

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday that he "personally endorsed the decision to seek a search warrant" for former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Resort , The Department of Justice filed a motion to release the warrant earlier in the day.

Mr Trump said late Thursday that he would not oppose the move.

Speaking about his decision in a brief press conference, Garland said the department "does not take such actions lightly" and pursued "non-intrusive" means to obtain materials first. said to do. Garland said it was Trump's "right" to reveal Monday's search of his property by the FBI, and that all Americans are entitled to a presumption of innocence.

Garland added that the Department of Justice is asking for the release of property receipts detailing what agents discovered on Trump property.

Trump's attorneys oppose government motion to open warrants until 3 p.m. Friday. But just before midnight, Trump said on his social media platforms that he would not oppose the government's move.

"I only oppose the release of documents relating to the un-American, unjust and unnecessary search and break-in of my home in Mar-a-Lago, Palm Beach, Florida. Instead, we go a step further by encouraging the immediate release of these documents," Trump said in part.

Trump received a federal grand jury subpoena earlier this spring on classified documents the government believed it kept even after the president left the White House, according to a person familiar with the matter. muscle confirmed.

Garland's agreement to "non-intrusive" means to retrieve the documents appears to be a reference to the subpoena, and Trump turned over all the materials the Justice Department asked for. suggested that it was not.

Mr Trump defended himself in a statement posted on his social media platforms following Garland's remarks, saying his lawyers "cooperate fully" and He said he had a "very good relationship" with Justice Department officials.

"If we had it, the government could have gotten whatever they wanted," he wrote. "Out of nowhere, without warning, Mar-a-Lago was attacked by a great many agents and even 'safecrackers'. They were ahead of themselves. Crazy.

Conservative journalist John Solomon said on Thursday afternoon that Trump had received a subpoena months before the FBI raided his home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, on Monday.

A source familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the subpoenaswere sent at a previously reported meeting in June. , said it related to documents that Trump's legal team discussed with Justice Department officials.3

Federal officials who traveled to Mar-a-Lago for the June meeting said , "came down to retrieve the documents requested" in the subpoena, the source said, adding that the meeting had been arranged. With the understanding of the Trump team that the subpoena will be fulfilled if the relevant documents are submitted on that date.

Citing "two of his sources who were briefed on classified documents" sought in the subpoena, the New York Times reported on Thursday that the uncollected materials are particularly sensitive to national security.

A source familiar with the matter told NBC News that Trump's lawyers were last contacted by the Justice Department shortly after the June meeting, before the FBI raided, and that federal officials He said it was time to demand additional security for the storage facility where the documents are kept. Trump's team has added his second lock to the basement storage area, according to sources.

Trump earlier this year said the National Archives and Records Administration was improperly removed from the White House and he had to return 15 boxes of documents. I had to.

Another source confirmed an earlier Wall Street Journal report, telling NBC News that the documents within Mar-Arago were "familiar Investigators said the club had more sensitive documents than those originally handed over, leading in part to Monday's raid.

In Thursday's remarks, Garland also defended the Justice Department against "baseless" attacks by Trump and his supporters.

"I will not sit on the sidelines when their decency is unjustly attacked," he said. "Every day they protect Americans from violent crime, terrorism and other threats while protecting our civil rights."

FBI Director Christopher Wraysaid Trump reiterated these sentiments in a statement Thursday night.

"A baseless attack on the integrity of the FBI undermines respect for the rule of law and is a grave prejudice to men and women who make great sacrifices to protect others.

125} Violence and threats against law enforcement, including the FBI, are dangerous and should be of deep concern to all Americans," he said.

"Every day I see men and women in the FBI doing their jobs professionally, with rigor, objectivity, and commitment to our mission to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution. I am proud to work with them,” Ray added.

Earlier this week, Trump attacked his FBI in a post on Truth Social with similar statements from his allies.

"Everyone was asked to leave the premises. They wanted no witnesses to what they were doing." They insisted that everyone go out so they wouldn't be seen."

Chris Ruddy, a friend of the former president and CEO of Newsmax, said: "I think he's pretty shocked," said the two, who hadn't discussed the investigation. Rudy echoed Trump's attack on the FBI, calling the search a "publicity stunt" and portraying the Justice Department as being politicized.

Garland's appearance on Thursday prompted federal investigators to question Garland's reticence during the unprecedented search of the former president's home, as well as unsubstantiated allegations held by federal agents. It followed a flurry of criticism from Justice Department officials and alumni who both accused him of failing to defend himself. planted evidence.

A former Department of Justice official told his NBC News: But dozens of him have to explain what's going on when they're talking about sending FBI agents into the bedroom of the former US president and looking into his drawers.

Otherwise, this person added, "Everyone would assume the worst."

"This is a completely unprecedented move by US law enforcement and I am frankly surprised that no one has made any effort to explain or justify it.

The White House did not receive advance notice of Garland's remarks, a senior White House official said.

Garland on Thursday put the burden on Trump to reveal more about the investigation, deflecting criticism that the Justice Department is overly secretive. Under the motion filed by prosecutors, Trump now has two options. He can allow the warrant to be made public, or he can keep it secret and risk appearing as though he has something to hide.

"I thought it was perfectly appropriate and absolutely wonderful to ask the president's lawyers for their opinion on the decision to unseal," said former US attorney who worked for Democrats and Republicans. FBI agent Chuck Rosenberg said. Administration. "If there's nothing there, you'd expect the president to agree." does not seek to publish an affidavit of probable cause, including justifying

A federal judge approved the search warrant last Friday, according to court filings. In the filing, Trump and his attorney have copies of both the warrant and a "redacted property receipt listing the items seized in the search," and can contest the release of those documents. It says it can.

"Given the great public interest in the search of the former president's mansion, the government believes these factors favor the desealing of the search warrant," related the document says. You should have the opportunity to respond to and challenge this motion, including as to the potential for "legitimate privacy interests" or other "damages" if these materials were made public.

The next step is for Justice Department officials to meet with Mr. Trump's attorneys to determine whether they intend to oppose the disclosure of the warrant and property receipts. File a notice by 3 p.m. ET on Friday to inform judges of Trump and his team's intentions.

The irony of research is that it concentrates on paper records. As president, Trump hated reading staff-produced briefing materials. Former Presidential Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said that when he met with Trump in the Oval Office or in the adjoining private dining room, the former president would often work on television tuned to Fox. News, he was impressed by the lack of paperwork.

"President Trump never asked for papers from us," Shulkin said. Mr. President, I have a briefing for you. Once in the Oval Office, President Trump's memory was that there was no paper anywhere. His desk was just Diet Coke.

John Kerry, who served as chief of staff in the Trump administration's White House, said he would instruct his cabinet members to brief Trump directly. "I want to say this to members of the Cabinet," Kelly told NBC News. "Don't give him something to read, tell him.

Kelly, President Trump's longest-serving chief of staff, was said to have been briefed on the Presidential Records Act and its document retention requirements when he assumed the post in the summer of 2017. said.

He also said he would speak to Trump about the importance of keeping records. According to Kelly, the message didn't get through, and the aide would occasionally take crumpled or torn pieces of paper from the wastebasket and attempt to put them back together so that they could eventually be handed over to the archivist.

Yet Trump clearly appreciated some of the paper records that reached his desk. He opened a drawer in his desk in the Oval Office and showed guests a letter he received from former President Barack Obama when he resigned as president in January 2017, according to a White House ex-officer. officials said. Or he showed visitors an executive order or a letter he received from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

At his home in Mar-a-Lago, he received guests at dinner and had his aide retrieve the executive order to show him, the person said on condition of anonymity. .