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Justice Department seeks to unseal warrant

They had pushed Garland to explain the raid, which appears to be related to the removal of records from the White House when Trump left office in Jan. 2021.

“Let me address recent unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors,” Garland said at a press conference.

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

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks about the FBI’s search warrant served at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida during a statement at the U.S. Justice Department in Washington, U.S., August 11, 2022.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

Federal investigators must show a judge they have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed in order to obtain a search warrant.

Current and former senior Justice Department officials told NBC News that multiple people within the Justice Department believed Garland needed to explain the basis of the warrant.

FBI agent seized about a dozen boxes from Trump’s home, his lawyer said.

That lawyer said agents left a copy of the search warrant, which indicated they are investigating possible violations of laws related to the Presidential Records Act and the handling of classified material.

A senior White House official told NBC News that they were unaware of what Garland would say.

“We have had no notice that he was giving remarks and no briefing on the content of them,” the official said.

The Justice Department, and Garland, have a longstanding policy about not commenting on criminal investigations before charges are filed.

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