Thursday afternoon, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland took to a podium at the Department of Justice headquarters to make a statement regarding the FBI raid on President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida. Reporters were told that Garland would speak for about five minutes. The AG did so, and, when the press attempted to ask questions, Garland stopped and reiterated that he could not comment further.
As political commentator Joe Concha said, “we (Americans) have more questions than we have answers.”
Attorney General Garland was very methodical in his remarks; he did make a few assertions that seemed to address some of the rumors flying around the media and social sites. First, Merrick Garland said he “personally approved” the decision to get a search warrant for Mar-a-Lago.
He also made a statement that has the media reeling – AG Garland said that normally the DOJ tries to carry out subpoenas or evidence gathering methods in “the least intrusive way.” However, this is one statement that has the American public asking questions. What did the Trump team allegedly do that warranted such an aggressive approach? What was the level of cooperation between Trump’s legal team, the investigators, and the Trump family?
Garland said that the DOJ “does not take such a decision lightly.” While Garland addressed criticisms that the DOJ or FBI might have acted unprofessionally – or in a politically motivated way – his brief comments still do not answer questions that the American people have at this time.
Lara Trump, Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, said that in her experience, the investigators met with Trump’s legal team in June. A day or so later, the Trump team received a phone call requesting that they put a padlock on the storage room where the alleged fifteen (extra) boxes of documents were stored. Lara Trump says that within a day or so, the padlock was placed on the storage room. She repeated, to her knowledge, there was no other communication between Trump’s legal team and the investigators.
Lara Trump also said that she did not believe there was a Trump informant; she believed that was something put out as a “distraction.” (NOTE: This is the opinion of Mrs. Trump, although many are reporting that there is, in fact, an informant.)
Merrick Garland began his speech by saying that he had filed a motion to unseal both the search warrant and the property receipt from the Monday raid at Mar-a-Lago. However, the same magistrate that signed the search warrant had previously ordered that the DOJ do that very thing; Judge Reinhart had given the agency until Monday to respond to his order.
Garland also said he wanted to defend the integrity of the FBI agents who participated in the raid. As he should, Garland described them as individuals who are highly professional. However, most Americans are criticizing the agents who were merely doing as they were instructed.
Garland confirmed that the Trump family had a copy of both the search warrant and a property receipt. Many Republicans have called on President Trump to share his copy of the search warrant, and it is unclear why he has chosen not to do so.
Garland also spoke to criticisms that the Department of Justice is working in a biased manner: “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.”
Still, Americans are asking – what evidence is there that the Trump legal team-and President Trump-was no longer cooperating with the Justice Department? What happened between the meeting of investigators and Trump’s legal team in June 2022 and now?
The Garland filing offers a redacted property receipt and the signed search warrant minus the affidavit that would have been prevented to Judge Reinhart as evidence for the raid. The search warrant was signed on August 5, and the raid took place the following business day (Monday).