FBI agents sought to find and reclaim nuclear documents by executing the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago in Florida on Monday. The documents in question are classified to the highest levels, meaning very few people have the clearance to see them, according to The Washington Post. Feds were anxious that the files might fall into the wrong hands and become a national security nightmare.
Right now, there is uncertainty surrounding whether the documents are related to weapons possessed by the United States or another country. There's also no word if the files in question were recovered from the former President's primary residence.
Since the raid occurred on Monday, a political firestorm has been brewing. Some Republicans, most notably Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have called for an investigation into why a search warrant was issued in the first place. According to The Hill, he released a statement calling for an answer from the DOJ; "Attorney General Garland and the Department of Justice should already have provided answers to the American people and must do so immediately..."
Like his senate counterpart, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy vowed to learn what happened. He told Garland to "clear his calendar" because they were going to launch an investigation into what happened with the raid.
On Thursday afternoon, Attorney General Merrick Garland held a press conference. Many noted that the move was unusual, given that the DOJ generally conducts its investigations out of the public eye. CBS News reports that even the Biden White House was unaware that Garland would be making a statement.
During the presser, Garland announced that the DOJ filed a motion to unseal the search warrant. The New York Times says that the move was made after Trump announced the raid himself on Monday evening. In part, the motion reads: "The public's clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred under these circumstances weighs heavily in favor of unsealing...."
It goes on to say that Trump should have a chance to oppose the unsealing of the warrant. The filing reads: "That said, the former President should have an opportunity to respond to this Motion and lodge objections, including with regards to any 'legitimate privacy interests' or the potential for other 'injury' if these materials are made public."
Judge Bruce Reinhart signed the search warrant and will be hearing the arguments from both sides about whether or not to unseal it. Trump appointed him to the Federal Court in 2018, Business Insider reports.
Reinhart is one of the targets of threats after the news broke that he was the one who signed off on the search warrant.
Threats of Violence Erupt
Over the course of the week, some people have issued threats of violence for the raid. Many people decried the action as overtly political, though they did not indicate why they felt that way. It is believed that their argument rests solely on Trump being a former president.
Judge Reinhart received death threats. The situation became so severe that his biography was removed from the US District Court Southern District of Florida website. Vice reports that it's because some of the warnings were antisemitic in nature.
The FBI and its agents have also been under increasingly menacing messages. One man, Ricky Shiffer, tried to attack the Ohio office. CNN reports that he was armed with a nail gun and another gun.
An account on Trump's Truth Social that bore Shiffer's name posted an update: "Leave work tomorrow as soon as the gun shop/Army-Navy store/pawn shop opens, get whatever you need to be ready for combat. We must not tolerate this one. They have been conditioning us to accept tyranny and think we can't do anything for 2 years. This time we must respond with force."
Agents killed Shiffer after negotiations failed.
During his press conference, Garland defended the DOJ and law enforcement. He said he would not tolerate them being attacked unfairly. He said: "Every day they protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism and other threats to their safety while safeguarding our civil rights. They do so at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves. I am honored to work alongside them."
The DOJ, FBI, and Trump declined to comment further.
Trump has until 3 pm Friday to object to having the search warrant unsealed.