WASHINGTON – Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday that he “personally approved” the search at Donald Trump’s home and condemned the “unfounded attacks” on the FBI following this unprecedented action against a former president.
Garland, who is also the attorney general, did not explain the reason for the search, but stressed that there is “probable cause” and that he asked a court to make the documents in the case public.
“I personally approved the decision to request a search warrant in this matter,” he told reporters. “The department does not make such a decision lightly.”
The FBI search this week of Trump’s residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, set off a political firestorm in an already deeply divided country and comes as Trump weighs a new White House bid.
Republican personalities offered their support to the former president, who was not at the scene when the raid took place.
Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence, a possible rival in 2024, expressed his “deep concern” and estimated that the search seemed motivated by “partisanship”.
Garland criticized the “baseless attacks on the professionalism of FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors.”
Since leaving office, Trump has retained great influence over the GOP, continuing to claim, without evidence, that he won the 2020 presidential election.
Trump also condemned the raid, saying it is politically motivated and constitutes a “weaponization” of the Justice Department.
“Nothing like this has ever happened to a president of the United States before,” he said.
Just two days after the FBI operation, Trump, 76, was questioned for four hours Wednesday at the Manhattan office of Letitia James, the New York state attorney general, who investigates the business practices of the Trump Organization. .
legal right not to answer questions more than 400 times during this statement about alleged fraud in his family’s real estate business.
James suspects that the Trump Organization fraudulently overstated the value of real estate when it applied for bank loans, while understating it with tax authorities to pay less taxes.
Trump said he “had no choice” but to invoke the Fifth Amendment, which allows one to remain silent during questioning.
“I refused to answer the questions based on the rights and privileges granted to all citizens under the Constitution of the United States,” he said in a statement.
The former president also has another open front for his efforts to annul the results of the 2020 elections and for the attack by his supporters on Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021.
More than 850 people have been arrested in this attack on Congress, which came after Trump gave a speech to supporters near the White House in which he falsely claimed the election was “stolen” from him.
The House of Representatives accused him of the disturbances in the Capitol, considering that he incited the insurrection, but the Senate acquitted him.