Attorney General Merrick Garland reportedly waited weeks to sign off on the FBI’s Trump raid at Mar-a-Lago, according to a bombshell new report in the Wall Street Journal.
“Attorney General Merrick Garland deliberated for weeks over whether to approve the application for a warrant to search former President Donald Trump’s Florida home, people familiar with the matter said, a sign of his cautious approach that will be tested over the coming months,” WSJ reported on Tuesday.
“The decision had been the subject of weeks of meetings between senior Justice Department and FBI officials, the people said,” the report continued. “The warrant allowed agents last Monday to seize classified information and other presidential material from Mar-a-Lago.”
“Mr. Garland now faces a more momentous decision that will further sharpen an already unprecedented and politically fraught situation: whether to pursue charges against Mr. Trump or any of his allies over their handling of the records at issue and their interactions with Justice Department officials seeking to retrieve them,” the report added.
“A decision to bring charges in the matter against Mr. Trump or any of his allies would thrust the Justice Department deeper into a political environment in which the former president’s supporters and Republican lawmakers are already accusing Mr. Garland and the department of overreach,” the report said.
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Legal analyst Jonathan Turley weighed in on the building case of federal overreach in the case of the Department of Justice’s authorization of the FBI raid against the former president.
“The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Garland took weeks to approve the application for a search warrant on Mar-a-Lago,” Turley noted. “Yet, the DOJ has argued that vital secrets were at risk and time was of the essence.”
“It is another reason why we need to see more information or the underlying affidavit,” he continued. “It also begs the question of why Garland did not take basic steps to assure the public that this was not politically motivated like asking for a special master to sort out privilege material.”
“Even today, Garland refuses to answer basic questions on the communications between June and the raid, including whether specific followup requests for documents were refused by the Trump Team,” he added.
As previously reported, The Federal Bureau of Investigation seized Trump records that fell under executive privilege and attorney-client privilege.
“The FBI seized boxes containing records covered by attorney-client privilege and potentially executive privilege during its raid of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, sources familiar with the investigation told Fox News, adding that the Justice Department opposed Trump lawyers’ request for the appointment of an independent, special master to review the records,” the report stated.
“Sources familiar with the investigation told Fox News Saturday that the former president’s team was informed that boxes labeled A-14, A-26, A-43, A-13, A-33, and a set of documents—all seen on the final page of the FBI’s property receipt —contained information covered by attorney-client privilege,” the report added.
On Monday, the FBI executed an overly broad search warrant to find both classified and unclassified information at Donald Trump’s estate at Mar-A-Lago. The Feds carried off 15 boxes of items, as listed in a manifest, allegedly including 11 sets of ‘classified’ materials.
In the search warrant, there is a section that shows the FBI weren’t just seeking for classified materials in its raid. The Feds were looking for any and all presidential records.
Attachment B, subsection c, clearly states: “Any government and/or Presidential Records created between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021.”
“The FBI seized classified records from Trump’s Palm Beach home during its unprecedented Monday morning raid, including some marked as top secret,” Fox News’s report continued. “But the former president is disputing the classification, saying the records have been declassified.”
As the report notes, the search warrant application and property manifesto were formally unsealed Friday afternoon. Donald Trump reacted to the latest developments on the unprecedented raid on a former president on Saturday.
“The ‘White House’ just announced that it had NO KNOWLEDGE of the early morning RAID on Mar-A-Lago, or the break in of Melania’s closets, my safe’s, or the secured and locked storage area where unclassified documents were safely held, and which the FBI knew of, was shown, and made recommendations that another lock be added (which they cracked, but not with the safecracker that they brought with them!),” Trump wrote. “Does ANYBODY really believe that the White House didn’t know about this? WITCH HUNT!”
Earlier Trump insisted that the documents were all declassified, regardless of the White House or the Department of Justice’s claims to the contrary.
“Number one, it was all declassified. Number two, they didn’t need to ‘seize’ anything,” Trump said on Truth Social. “They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago. It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request…”
Earlier on Saturday, Fox News reported that a Trump attorney certified that there were ‘no classified documents’ at Mar-A-Lago after June.
The Attorney General, furthermore, did not seek the advice of the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel; presumably, because the nation’s partisan top lawyer would not like the OLC’s likely response.
House Republicans continue to press for answers from Garland, who was denied a Supreme Court Justice seat from Donald Trump. Articles of impeachment have already been filed in the House of Representatives that may ultimately prove actionable, should the attorney general fail to provide a satisfactory response.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.