Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Thursday that he “personally approved” the decision to seek a warrant for the FBI raid of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
“The department does not take such a decision lightly. Where possible, it is standard practice to seek less intrusive means as an alternative to a search and to narrowly scope any search that is undertaken,” Garland said in a statement delivered from the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.
“The search warrant was authorized by a federal court upon the required finding of probable cause,” he told reporters.
“Copies of both the warrant and the FBI property receipt were provided on the day of the search to the former President’s counsel who was on site during the search,” he stated.
Trump’s son Eric, and his lawyer Christina Bobb on Wednesday claimed that the agents refused to hand over the warrant.
Bobb later clarified in an interview that a copy of the warrant was eventually provided to her after the nine-hour search of the premises was completed.
“I tried to get a copy of the search warrant, and they wouldn’t give it to me initially,” Bobb told conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza on Wednesday. “They said they didn’t have to show it to me,” she complained, adding, “They gave me a copy of it after it was over.”
Bobb and Lindsey Halligan, another attorney for Trump, were called to the scene Monday morning, and had to wait outside, reportedly in the estate’s parking area, while the feds did their work.
Eric Trump told The Daily Mail that the federal agents demanded that security cameras be turned off while they searched the home for documents, and that they used “safe crackers” to blast open his father’s safe. Dozens of G-men reportedly roamed inside the 128-room Florida estate for nine hours on Monday, including the master bedroom, where they rifled through Melania Trump’s wardrobe, according to reports.
On his social media platform Truth Social Thursday afternoon, Trump expressed shock that the feds “rummaged through” his wife’s clothing.
“Just learned that agents went through the First Lady’s closets and rummaged through her clothing and personal items,” he wrote. “Surprisingly, left area in a relative mess. Wow!”
Amid widespread concern that there is a two-tiered system of justice in the United States, Garland insisted during his remarks Thursday that all Americans are entitled to the “even-handed application of the law.”
“Faithful adherence to the rule of law is the bedrock principle of the Justice Department and of our democracy. Upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly, without fear or favor,” Garland claimed. “Under my watch, that is precisely what the DOJ is doing.”
Garland: "Faithful adherence to the rule of law is the bedrock principle of the DOJ. Upholding the law means applying the law evenly without fear or favor. Under my watch, that is precisely what the DOJ is doing." pic.twitter.com/tNA3xS8vFW
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) August 11, 2022
In a recent survey of over 1,000 likely voters conducted by the Trafalgar Group, 79.3 percent of respondents said “[t]here are two tiers of justice in the American justice system: one set of laws for politicians and Washington D.C. insiders vs. one set of laws for everyday Americans.”
Only 11.6 percent said that “there is one system of justice with laws applied to all Americans equally,” and the remaining 9.1 percent of respondents were unsure of their answers.
The embattled AG tried to explain why the Biden DOJ’s prosecutions are cloaked in secrecy.
“Much of our work is by necessity conducted out of the public eye,” he said. “We do that to protect the Constitutional rights of all Americans and to protect the integrity of our investigations.”
One “even-handed” investigation that is currently raising eyebrows involves the targeting of several GOP lawmakers in Pennsylvania, where the feds reportedly “delivered subpoenas or paid visits to several House and Senate Republican offices in the Pennsylvania Capitol on Tuesday and Wednesday.”
At least some of the individuals receiving subpoenas were told they were not targets of an investigation, according to at least six sources reached by PennLive, but that they may have information of interest to the FBI. All of the sources had been briefed on the investigative moves in some way, but demanded anonymity in order to discuss them.
The information being requested centered around U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., and the effort to seek alternate electors as part of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to remain in office after the 2020 election, several sources said.
Perry’s cellphone was seized on Tuesday as part of the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into the effort to overturn the rigged election of Joe Biden.
Garland went on to say that the DOJ has filed a motion to unseal the search warrant and property receipt relating to the FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago.
“Just now, the Justice Department has filed a motion in the southern district of Florida to unseal a search warrant and property receipt relating to a court-approved search that the FBI conducted earlier this week. That search was a premises located in Florida belonging to the former president,” he said.
Trump on Thursday blasted the Biden DOJ for treating him differently than past presidents.
“Obama White House lawyers repeatedly invoked the Presidential Records Act to ‘delay the release of thousands of pages of records from President Bill Clinton’s White House,’” he wrote on Truth Social, citing a New York Post article, titled, FBI Trump raid exposes Washington’s secrecy shams.
“At the end of his presidency, Barack Obama trucked 30 million pages of his administration’s records to Chicago, promising to digitize them and eventually put them online — a move that outraged historians,” the Post reported. “More than five years after Obama’s presidency ended, the National Archives webpage reveals that zero pages have been digitized and disclosed.”
“What happened to the 30 million pages of documents taken from the White House to Chicago by Barack Hussein Obama?” Trump demanded. “He refused to give them back! What is going on? This act was strongly at odds with NARA. Will they be breaking into Obama’s “mansion” in Martha’s Vineyard?” he asked rhetorically. The former president wrote in a subsequent post: “I continue to ask, what happened to the 33 Million pages of documents taken to Chicago by President Obama? The Fake News Media refuses to talk about that. They want it CANCELED!”
In his statement Monday night, Trump noted that former Sec. of State and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was allowed to get away with destroying subpoenaed documents.
“Hillary Clinton was allowed to delete and acid wash 33,000 E-mails AFTER they were subpoenaed by Congress. Absolutely nothing has happened to hold her accountable. She even took antique furniture, and other items from the White House,” he lamented.
Trump stressed that he had been cooperating fully with the DOJ on the documents.
“My attorneys and representatives were cooperating fully, and very good relationships had been established,” he said on Truth Social Thursday. “The government could have had whatever they wanted, if we had it. They asked us to put an additional lock on a certain area – DONE! Everything was fine, better than that of most previous Presidents, and then, out of nowhere and with no warning, Mar-a-Lago was raided, at 6:30 in the morning, by VERY large numbers of agents, and even ‘safecrackers.’ They got way ahead of themselves. Crazy!”
In a separate post, Trump wrote in all caps: “STOP COMMUNISM IN OUR COUNTRY!”