• AG Merrick Garland confirmed that he personally signed off on the FBI's Mar-a-Lago search warrant.
  • "The department does not take such a decision lightly," he said at a news conference.
  • Garland also said the DOJ filed a motion to unseal the warrant after Trump publicly revealed its existence.

Attorney General Merrick Garland confirmed Thursday that he personally signed off on the warrant used to search former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago property.

He announced that the Justice Department filed a motion to unseal the search warrant and an accompanying FBI property receipt. He also said that copies of both the warrant and the receipt were given to Trump's counsel, debunking claims that the former president's team did not get copies of the documents.

"Federal law, long-standing department rules, and our ethical obligations prevent me from providing further details as to the basis of the search at this time. There are, however, certain points I want you to know," Garland said.

"First, I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter," he continued. "Second, the department does not take such decisions lightly."

Garland said they chose to file to unseal the documents in light of Trump's "public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances, and the substantial public interest in this matter."

Copies of both the warrant and the FBI's receipt were provided "to the former president's counsel who was on-site during the search," Garland said.

The department said in its motion to unseal that it "did not make any public statements about the search, and the search apparently attracted little or no public attention as it was taking place."

But "later that same day, former President Trump issued a public statement acknowledging the execution of the warrant," the court filing said. "In the days since, the search warrant and related materials have been the subject of significant interest and attention from news media organizations and other entities."

Given those circumstances which involve a search of a former president's home, "the government hereby requests that the Court unseal" the warrant and FBI receipt, absent Trump's objections, the filing said.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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