The US Department of Justice has moved to unseal the Mar-a-Lago search warrant.
Trump himself could release the warrant himself immediately.
But the former president’s team is reportedly consulting outside counsel before deciding.
Former President Donald Trump could unilaterally release the warrant that federal agents used to search his resort and residence at Mar-a-Lago. But news reports suggest that Trump and his allies are still trying to decide whether or not to fight the Department of Justice’s motion to unseal the document — and the list of goods that were confiscated.
At a Thursday afternoon press conference, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that he was moving to release the search warrant in light of the publicity surrounding the case. The judge who signed off on the warrant has ordered the Department of Justice to confer with Trump’s attorneys and inform the court by 3 p.m. on Friday as to whether the former president plans to fight the release.
According to The New York Times, Trump’s allies are “discussing the possibility of challenging” the release of the documents and have “contacted outside lawyers” to discuss the matter. CNN reported Thursday evening that the former president and his team “have not yet reached a decision.” One source told the outlet Trump’s team is considering challenging the motion to unseal the warrant. Both outlets reported that his team is consulting with outside attorneys.
William Jeffress, a lawyer who previously represented former President Richard Nixon, told Insider that he would not object to a client wanting to release the documents on their own, as is Trump’s right. But there are mitigating factors, he noted.
“As a defense lawyer, I see no danger that release of the items would hurt his legal defense,” Jeffress said. “But it surely might hurt his effort in the media to characterize the search as baseless or abusive.”
Details around what led to the raid have been scarce, with many Republican lawmakers demanding an explanation from the Justice Department after the search was carried out and publicized by Trump on Monday. Before Garland’s announcement on Thursday, the Justice Department and FBI had offered no comment.
The lack of details fueled accusations by the former president and other Republicans that the raid was politically motivated. The calls for transparency continued even after Garland said he was moving to have the search warrant released.
“What I am looking for is the predicate for the search. Was the information provided to the judge sufficient and necessary to authorize a raid on the former president’s home within ninety days of the midterm election?” Sen. Lindsey Graham said in a statement provided to Insider. “I am urging, actually insisting, the DOJ and the FBI lay their cards on the table as to why this course of action was necessary. Until that is done the suspicion will continue to mount.”
Garland also suggested Thursday the move to have the warrant released was in part to defend the FBI’s actions.
“I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked,” he said. “The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated, patriotic public servants.”
Read the original article on Business Insider