It is an unprecedented event in US history: The FBI searches the home of a former president. Now the Minister of Justice is behind the officials – probably also to de-escalate.
WASHINGTON – US Attorney General Merrick Garland has personally endorsed the decision to seek a search warrant on former US President Donald Trump’s home. That’s what Garland said in a short-term speech in Washington. “The search warrant was granted by a federal court following the required determination of reasonable suspicion.”
Garland added: “The Department does not take such a decision lightly. Wherever possible, less intrusive means are sought as an alternative to a search, and any search is strictly limited.” The FBI searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, Florida, home last Monday.
The process is considered unprecedented in US history. The pressure on Garland had since grown to take a stand. Trump was not at his home during the search. He and other Republicans have criticized the search and accused Democratic US President Joe Biden of politicizing the FBI.
Garland said he could not comment on the details of the search. However, given the public interest and Trump’s confirmation of the incident, his department has petitioned a federal court to release the search warrant and receipt for any items seized. Garland stressed, “All Americans have the right to equitable application of the law, due process, and the presumption of innocence.”
The background to the search was apparently Trump’s handling of documents from his tenure. Earlier this year, it was revealed that the National Archives, which is responsible for storing presidential correspondence, suspected several boxes of confidential material were in Mar-a-Lago. Trump finally handed over several documents to the agency in January.
After that, according to US media reports, there was a further exchange between investigators and Trump’s lawyers. Officials suspected Trump or his team were continuing to withhold important documents, the Washington Post wrote, citing anonymous sources. The FBI is said to have taken twelve boxes.
Beware of violence against FBI officials
The Minister of Justice also warned against questioning the professionalism of his employees. “I would like to address the recent unfounded attacks on the professionalism of FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors: I will not stand by while their integrity is unfairly attacked,” Garland said.
The men and women of the FBI and Justice Department are “dedicated patriotic public servants” who protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism and other threats every day. “They do so at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves,” Garland said.
After the raid, some law enforcement officials were heavily criticized. Concerns about violent attacks also grew. “Violence against law enforcement is not a solution no matter what or who someone is angry about,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray in Omaha, Nebraska.
A gunman tried to break into an FBI field office in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Thursday. When the police confronted him, he fled, the FBI said. Nothing was initially known about the man’s motives. dpa
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