FBI raided Trump's home looking for documents on nuclear weapons, report says

Justice Department asks federal judge to unseal warrant carried out by FBI at Mar-a-Lago

US Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at the Justice Department in Washington. EPA
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FBI agents raided former president Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida to retrieve classified documents, US Attorney General Merrick Garland confirmed on Thursday as he said he personally signed the warrant.

The raid focused on at least 10 boxes of documents that the National Archives said had been taken in breach of laws pertaining to presidential records.

The Washington Post reported that the FBI was attempting to recover, among other things, classified documents relating to nuclear weapons.

“I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant,” Mr Garland said at a news conference on Thursday shortly after he requested a judge unseal the warrant to make it public.

The department has come under heavy criticism from Republicans after the FBI conducted a search at Mr Trump's sprawling Florida estate earlier this week.

The search warrant was approved by the court on August 5, three days before the raid, the docket states.

The Justice Department filed the request to unseal the warrant after Mr Trump's public confirmation of the search and the “substantial public interest in this matter”, Mr Garland said.

The attorney general also condemned the “unfounded attacks” on the department's integrity that were lobbied against its agents after the FBI raid.

“I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked,” he said.

“They protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism and other threats to their safety while safeguarding our civil rights.”

The former president slammed the raid as a “weaponisation of the justice system” and as a politically motivated move by President Joe Biden, though the White House said Mr Biden was not given advanced notice of the raid and that he respected the department's independence.

Republicans, hurrying to the former president's defence, launched complaints against the Justice Department. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy threatened to launch an investigation of the department if the party won control of the lower chamber of Congress later this year.

Writing directly to Mr Garland, he said “preserve your documents and clear your calendar”.

FBI Director Christopher Wray earlier slammed the “deplorable and dangerous” threats issued against law enforcement officials by Trump supporters.

Mr Wray declined to comment on the raid during a news conference in Omaha, Nebraska, on Wednesday.

FBI agents also seized the phone of Trump ally Scott Perry, the Republican congressman said. Mr Perry did not reveal why the device was confiscated.

Donald Trump supporters outside Mar-A-Lago - in pictures

Updated: August 12, 2022, 8:53 AM