In exceptional circumstances, exceptional measures. Three days after the spectacular FBI search of Donald Trump’s home in Florida, and while the entire Republican Party denounces the instrumentalization of the Department of Justice, its boss, Attorney General Merrick Garland, has started a game of poker with the former president. The Minister of Justice confirmed that he personally authorized the request for a search warrant. And, in the midst of a political storm, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an appeal to have the warrant and the inventory of seized documents made public. Banco, replied Donald Trump on Truth Social Thursday evening, a little before midnight.
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“Not only do I not oppose the release of the documents related to this anti-American and unjustified search, but I will go further by encouraging their immediate release,” wrote Donald Trump. The Florida judge responsible for deciding had given him until Friday, 3 p.m., to respond. In theory, Donald Trump has obtained a copy of the warrant, and he has the right to publish it in full himself. Except surprise, the version which should make public the department of Justice, perhaps as of Friday, will be largely blacked out, in particular for all that relates to possible documents “secret-defense”.
Documents relating to nuclear weapons?
The search appears to concern boxes of documents that Donald Trump, or his entourage, had transported from the White House to his residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, when he left office. The former president has already returned 15 boxes to the National Archives last January, but, according to American media, he would have kept others.
Crucial question: do they contain classified documents, which would be illegal. Donald Trump’s entourage suggests that he had declassified these documents at the White House. But there is a procedure to follow, and there does not seem to be any trace of it. According to New York Times, FBI investigators were concerned about the possible presence of ultra-sensitive documents from the “special access program”, a level even higher than “top-secret”. the washington post dropped a bomb on Thursday evening: the FBI was looking in particular, according to anonymous sources close to the investigation, for documents concerning “nuclear weapons”. Be careful though, the American daily does not provide any details. And it is not known if such documents were indeed found at Mar-a-Lago.
Merrick Garland’s rant
During a short press conference, the Minister of Justice gave no details but wanted to clarify several points. The main thing: he “personally authorized the decision to request a search warrant”, and he “did not take the decision lightly”. In general, alternative methods “less intrusive” than a visit by federal agents are preferred, he said. According to US media, the DOJ had obtained a subpoena in the spring compelling Donald Trump to return documents. Obviously, the former president did not comply, which justified a search. The latter was supervised by the FBI’s counterintelligence division. Finally, while Donald Trump fueled conspiracy theories, ensuring that the FBI had been able to place false evidence in the seizure, Merrick Garland banged his fist on the table. He denounced the “unfounded attacks” against his ministry. The climate is particularly tense: an armed man tried to attack the FBI office in Cincinnati on Thursday morning, before being shot dead by the police. According to the first elements of the investigation, it seems to be a radicalized supporter of the ex-president. This 42-year-old man, who was present at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, had called in a post on Truth Social to kill FBI agents, a few hours after the announcement of the search at Donald Trump.