Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday said the Justice Department has asked a judge to unseal the search warrant and the "supporting documents" used in the FBI's raid of former President Donald Trump's Florida mansion, The New York Times summarizes.
The AG said he approved the initial decision to seek a search warrant after "less intrusive" attempts at recovering the documents Trump is thought to have improperly taken from the White House failed, the Times notes. "The department does not take such a decision lightly," he said.
Garland also took the time to defend "the men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department" — whom he called "dedicated, patriotic public servants" — from recent criticism by supporters of the former president, who have claimed the agents acted politically and unfairly in their search. "I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked," Garland said.
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Notably, the search warrant in this case "was sealed for a reason" (as they often are), writes USA Today, and "unsealing it to appease political supporters of Trump — or his detractors — would go against long-standing Justice Department policy and tradition."
Meanwhile, it was reported earlier Thursday that Trump had received a subpoena earlier this year in search of the documents, seemingly corroborating that the DOJ attempted "less intrusive" actions prior to Monday's raid.
Trump's lawyers may now respond to, and raise any objections regarding, the DOJ's request to unseal the warrant before the judge issues a decision, notes The Wall Street Journal.
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