United States: In response to unprecedented action against a former president, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Thursday that he had "personally approved" the search of Donald Trump's Florida home and called for "baseless attacks" on the FBI.
Garland said there was a "probable cause" for the finding, but declined to elaborate. He also said that he has asked the court to make the documents of the case public.
"I personally approved the decision to seek search warrant in this case. It is not a decision that the department takes lightly.
After Trump himself announced the finding in a statement Monday night, he said the Justice Department had asked a court to cancel a search warrant filed as part of the investigation because of "substantial public interest."
Trump is considering another run for president, and this week's extraordinary FBI raid on his Mar-a-Lago estate has ignited political fire in a nation that is already sharply divided.
According to The Washington Post on Thursday, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the investigation, FBI agents discovered papers related to nuclear weapons, among other classified documents, during the raid.
The paper did not specify whether the nuclear weapons involved were from the US or any other country. Trump demanded the immediate release of records related to the searches late Thursday.
“Not only will I not oppose the release of documents relating to the un-American, unjust and unnecessary raids and sabotage of my home in Palm Beach, Florida, Mar-a-Lago, but I am going one step further. Encouraging the immediate release of those documents, even if they were created by radical Left Democrats and potential future political rivals who have a strong and powerful vested interest in attacking me, as they have done over the past six years has done.
The former president, who was not present during the raid, has the support of top Republicans. Trump's potential rival in 2024, Mike Pence, expressed "deep concern" and claimed the Justice Department raids were "biased."
Garland had criticized "baseless attacks on the professionalism of FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors".
Trump has remained the most divisive figure in the country and a driving force in the Republican Party ever since he left office, sparking rumors that he had in fact won the 2020 election.
The raid was also condemned by Trump as being politically motivated and "arming" the Justice Department. According to Trump, no President of the United States has ever experienced anything like this before.
The 76-year-old was questioned on Wednesday for four hours at the Manhattan office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James, who is looking into the Trump Organization's business deals, just days after an FBI operation.
According to US media, during the statement, Trump exercised his legal right to hide information regarding the alleged fraud at his family's real estate company more than 400 times.
James believes the Trump Organization inflated real estate property values when applying for bank loans, persuading tax officials to avoid overpaying in taxes.
Rump claimed he had "no choice" during the statement but to use the Fifth Amendment, which gives people the right to remain silent during interrogation if they think they may be implicated.
"I refuse to answer questions in accordance with the rights and privileges granted to every citizen under the Constitution of the United States," he said in a statement.
Trump's attempts to invalidate the 2020 election results, as well as the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by his supporters, have also come under intense legal scrutiny.
Garland has been repeatedly pressed about whether the Justice Department is preparing a case against Trump in connection with the Capitol riots.
More than 850 people have been detained in connection with the 2021 attack on Congress, falsely accusing him of "stealing" the election, after Trump delivered a brutal speech to his supporters near the White House.
After the Capitol riots, the House historically impeached Trump for the second time on charges of inciting rebellion; However, the Senate found him not guilty.