The Fort Worth Press - Search warrant from Trump raid poised for release

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Search warrant from Trump raid poised for release
Search warrant from Trump raid poised for release / Photo: © AFP

Search warrant from Trump raid poised for release

US justice officials were poised on Friday to make public the warrant authorizing the extraordinary raid on Donald Trump's Florida estate by FBI agents reportedly seeking to recover sensitive classified documents.

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Trump, who is weighing another White House run in 2024, supported the release of the search warrant while complaining that he was the victim of "unprecedented political weaponization of law enforcement."

"I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents, even though they have been drawn up by radical left Democrats and possible future political opponents," he wrote on his Truth Social platform.

The 76-year-old Trump and his lawyers have actually had a copy of the search warrant and the receipt listing the property seized by FBI agents for days and they could have revealed the contents previously themselves.

The FBI search on Monday of Trump's Mar-a-Largo residence was believed to be focused on classified papers that may have been removed from the White House, with one report suggesting they included documents related to nuclear weapons.

The highly unusual move to unseal the search warrant was announced by Attorney General Merrick Garland -- the country's top law enforcement officer -- who said he had "personally approved" the raid on Trump's home.

Garland said he had asked a Florida judge to unseal the warrant because of "substantial public interest in this matter" and he gave Trump and his legal team until 3:00 pm (1900 GMT) Friday to oppose the motion.

Andrew Weissmann, a former Justice Department official, said Garland had "called Trump's bluff" by putting the onus on the former president to object or consent to release of the document.

The Justice Department motion to unseal the warrant noted -- and did not dispute -- statements by Trump's representatives that the FBI was seeking presidential records and potential classified material.

According to US media, the search related to potential mishandling of classified documents taken to Mar-a-Lago after Trump left the White House in January 2021.

The Washington Post on Thursday cited anonymous sources close to the investigation as saying classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the papers sought by FBI agents during the raid.

Trump himself appeared to deny the claim, posting that the "nuclear weapons issue is a hoax" and even suggesting that the Federal Bureau of Investigation might have been "planting information" at his home.

- Political firestorm -

The FBI raid sparked a political firestorm in an already bitterly divided country, and comes as Trump hints at making another presidential bid in 2024.

Leading Republicans have rallied around Trump and some members of his party accused the Justice Department and FBI of partisanship in targeting the ex-president.

In a statement on Thursday, Trump said his attorneys had been "cooperating fully" and "the government could have had whatever they wanted, if we had it."

Garland criticized what he called "unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors."

In the hours before Garland's remarks, an armed man tried to storm an FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio in an attack that appeared to be a direct response to the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago.

The assailant, who was shot dead by police after exchanges of gunfire and an hours-long standoff, reportedly posted on Truth Social that he hoped his actions would serve as a "call to arms."

The Justice Department typically does not confirm or deny whether it is investigating someone, and Garland took pains to emphasize the law was being applied fairly to Trump.

In addition to investigations into his business practices, Trump faces legal scrutiny for his efforts to overturn the results of the November 2020 election and the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by his supporters.

Trump was impeached for a historic second time by the House after the Capitol riot -- he was charged with inciting an insurrection -- but was acquitted by the Senate.

T.Gilbert--TFWP