US Attorney General Merrick Garland told reporters on Thursday that he “personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant” on former US president Donald Trump’s Florida estate on Monday.
According to The Washington Post, the FBI agents who raided the house sought documents on nuclear weapons.
In a public statement, Garland refused to divulge any more information on the investigation or the raid on Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago due to “ethical obligations,” but noted that he submitted a notion to the Justice Department to release the warrant to the public.
“The Justice Department will speak through its court filings and its work,” he said.
“Just now, the Justice Department has filed a motion in the Southern District of Florida to unseal a search warrant and property receipt relating to a court-approved search that the FBI (Federal Bureau of Inestigation) conducted earlier this week. That search was of a premise in Florida belonging to the former president.”
This motion was filed “in light of the former president’s confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances, and the substantial public interest in this matter.”
Trump has until 3:00 pm local time on Friday to contest the request to unseal the warrant.
US reports said the raid was part of an investigation relating to classified documents allegedly taken to Mar-a-Lago by Trump.
Trump is currently facing several different lawsuits, including interference with the 2020 election results.
A US House of Representatives committee is also probing his involvement in the January 6, 2021 attack on Capitol Hill by Trump supporters.
The raid on Monday sparked an outcry among right-wing US media and politicians, who suggested the FBI and Justice Department were influenced by partisanship in conducting the search.
A man, identified by media as Trump supporter Ricky Shiffer, was killed on Thursday in a standoff with police in Cincinnati, Ohio, while trying to break into the FBI office there.
Garland blasted the “unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors.”