In remarks delivered Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland ripped into arguments from Trump against the FBI search of his Florida property known as Mar-a-Lago earlier this week.
“The department did not make any public statements on the day of the search,” Garland noted, outlining the well-documented procedures that led up to and surrounded the execution of the search. “The former president publicly confirmed the search that evening, as is his right. 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. The search warrant was authorized by a federal court upon the required finding of probable cause… The Department filed the motion to make public the warrant and receipt in light of the former president’s public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances, and the substantial public interest in this matter.”
In subsequent remarks, the Justice Department leader more directly undercut the notion of political motivations underlying the raid. “Faithful adherence to the rule of law is the bedrock principle of the Justice Department and of our democracy,” Garland added. “Upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly without fear or favor. Under my watch, that is precisely what the Justice Department is doing. All Americans are entitled to the even-handed application of the law, to due process of the law, and to the presumption of innocence.” In a notable follow-up, Garland also said he personally approved the push for judicial approval of a search warrant targeting Mar-a-Lago. Previous reporting added FBI Director Christopher Wray, who was appointed to that position by Trump, also signed off on pursuing the warrant.
Garland also addressed complaints about and antagonism towards federal law enforcement from those in Trump’s corner. “Let me address recent unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors,” the attorney general stated. “I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked. The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated, patriotic public servants. Every day they protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism, and other threats to their safety, while safeguarding our civil rights. They do so at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves.”
“Unfounded attacks” might be somewhat of an understatement in terms of describing the reaction from Trump and certain allies of his to the FBI showing up at Mar-a-Lago — which reportedly followed high-ranking Justice Department officials collecting classified documents from the property in June after the National Archives already found other classified materials among the Trump administration records obtained from the Trump property in 15 boxes back in January. Trump’s corner is essentially going with the idea that the search of Mar-a-Lago — no matter the careful execution of it — was an egregious breach of the public’s trust and something on par with what happens in “third world countries.” (For some reason, Trump seems quite fond of comparing developments of which he’s not a fan to alleged happenings in so-called “third world countries.”) Check out Garland’s remarks below: