Trump calls for 'immediate' release of Mar-a-Lago warrant

Former president says reports that FBI agents were looking for documents related to nuclear weapons is a 'hoax'

Former US president Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort is seen in Palm Beach, Florida. Reuters
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Former US president Donald Trump said he would not oppose a motion from the Justice Department seeking to unseal the search warrant carried out by FBI agents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida earlier this week.

In a message posted on his Truth Social media platform late on Thursday night, Mr Trump said: “Not only will I not oppose the release of documents … I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents.”

“Release the documents now!” he wrote in a separate post that included further attacks on law enforcement officials.

Such documents typically remain sealed during a pending investigation, but Attorney General Merrick Garland said the department had filed a motion to unseal the search warrant because of “substantial public interest” in the case, and added that he personally had approved the warrant for the search of Mr Trump’s home.

In a message posted on the Truth Social media platform, the former US president said he would not oppose a search warrant carried out by FBI agents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. Screengrab / Truth Social

In carrying out the search at the former president's Florida estate, prosecutors had to receive approval from a federal judge. The judge would have had to determine that the government presented enough information that there was probable cause that a search would uncover evidence related to criminal activity, though it does not mean the judge found proof a person had committed a crime.

“The department does not take such a decision lightly. Where possible, it is standard practice to seek less intrusive means as an alternative to a search, and to narrowly scope any search that is undertaken,” Mr Garland said.

Mr Trump himself confirmed the raid in a statement on Monday night. In its motion to unseal the documents, the Justice Department said it had provided direct notice to the former president's lawyers when the warrant was carried out.

Among the documents FBI agents were looking to recover from Mar-a-Lago were related to nuclear weapons, the Washington Post reported, citing people familiar with the investigation.

In a post early on Friday, Mr Trump said the “nuclear weapons issue is a hoax” and, without evidence, suggested FBI agents may have planted documents.

The FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago comes as the former president publicly considers a 2024 White House run. Republicans hurried to Mr Trump's defence and attacked the department's credibility, claiming the raid was politically motivated.

Mr Garland criticised what he called “unfounded attacks” on the Justice Department and FBI's professionalism, as well as its agents and prosecutors.

As he was delivering remarks to reporters, police were locked in a deadly stand-off with a man who attempted to break into an FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio. The man is believed to have been in Washington in the days leading up to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

Mr Trump remains one of the most divisive figures in the US since leaving office in 2021, and has continued to spread falsehoods pertaining to the 2020 presidential election. He is currently battling a series of probes including a congressional investigation into his role in the January 6 attack and a separate New York civil case probing his family organisation's business dealings.

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Updated: August 12, 2022, 3:17 PM