US Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Thursday that he had “personally approved” a search of Donald Trump’s home in Florida, and condemned “baseless attacks” on the FBI following the action. ever for a former president.
Garland did not explain the reason for the search, but stressed that there was “probable cause” and said he had asked a court to make the documents of the case public.
“I personally have passed the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter,” he told reporters. “The Department does not take such a decision lightly.”
The FBI’s unusual raid this week on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate has set off a political firestorm in an already bitterly divided country and came as he was considering a potential war. run another White House.
Top Republicans rallied around the former president, who was not present when the raid took place.
Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence, a potential 2024 opponent, expressed “deep concern” and said the raid was “partisan” by the Justice Department.
Garland criticized “baseless attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Department of Justice agents and prosecutors.”
Since leaving office, Trump has remained the country’s most divisive figure and force in the Republican party, continuing to sow the falsehood that he actually won the 2020 vote.
Trump has also condemned the raid as politically motivated and a “weaponization” by the Justice Department.
“Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before,” Trump said.
Just days after the FBI operation, the 76-year-old was questioned for four hours on Wednesday in the Manhattan office of Letitia James, the New York state attorney general who is investigating the company’s business practices. Trump Organization.
US media reported that Trump invoked his legal right not to answer questions more than 400 times during that ousted period about alleged fraud at his family’s real estate business.
James suspects that the Trump Organization has overstated the value of real estate when applying for bank loans, while also understating them to the tax authorities to pay less taxes.
Trump said he had “no choice” but to invoke the Fifth Amendment – which allows individuals to remain silent when questioned – during the removal process.
“I refuse to answer questions about the rights and privileges afforded to all citizens under the United States Constitution,” he said in a statement.
Trump has also faced intense legal scrutiny for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and for the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by supporters. for him.
Garland has repeatedly been pushed about whether the Justice Department is building a case against Trump over the Capitol riots.
More than 850 people have been arrested in connection with the 2021 attack on Congress, which comes after Trump gave a fiery speech to his supporters near the White House falsely claiming the election had been “hit”. steal”.
Trump was impeached by the House for the second time in history after the Capitol riots – he was accused of inciting an uprising – but was acquitted by the Senate.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)