Trump Calls 'Hoax' on Nuclear Documents Report, Urges Warrant Release (AP)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Friday, 12 August 2022 08:44 AM EDT
Former President Donald Trump says he is "encouraging the immediate release" of documents related to the FBI's search of his Florida estate while rejecting reports that agents had searched his home for documents related to nuclear weapons.
"Not only will I not oppose the release of documents related to the unAmerican, unwarranted, and unnecessary raid and break-in of my home in Palm Beach, Florida, Mar-a-Lago, I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents, even though they have been drawn up by radical left Democrats and possible future political opponents, who have a strong and powerful vested interest in attacking me, much as they have done for the last 6 years," Trump said in a statement issued late Thursday.
Trump's statement on the document release, which his legal team declined to authorize earlier, comes after the Justice Department on Thursday moved to unseal the search warrant, and after Attorney General Merrick Garland said in public remarks, also on Thursday, that he "personally approved" the step to seek the warrant that was used and it would be made public.
In a filing in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the Justice Department officially asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart to unseal the warrant, the list of seized items, and accompanying information, "absent objection from the former president," reports CBS News.
"The press and the public enjoy a qualified right of access to criminal and judicial proceedings and the judicial records filed therein," wrote U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez and Jay Bratt, head of the Justice Department's counterintelligence and export control section wrote in the request, adding that "the public's clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred under these circumstances weighs heavily in favor of unsealing."
Reinhart has given the Justice Department until 3 p.m. Friday to notify him if Trump's attorneys plan to fight to unseal the documents.
While insisting he wants the records behind the search released, Trump blamed the search and seizure of documents on politics and called it an "unprecedented political weaponization of law enforcement."
"My poll numbers are the strongest they have ever been, fundraising by the Republican Party is breaking all records, and midterm elections are fast approaching," he said in the Thursday night statement, calling the raid on his home "inappropriate and highly unethical."
"The world is watching as our Country is being brought to a new low, not only on our border, crime, economy, energy, national security, and so much more but also with respect to our sacred elections!" he said. "Release the documents now!"
Meanwhile, Trump early Friday, in comments posted to his Truth Social account, disputed a Washington Post report that said, quoting an unnamed source, that the classified documents concerned nuclear weapons.
The sources did not offer further details, including whether the weapons reportedly involved belonged to the United States or elsewhere or if such documents were recovered.
"Nuclear weapons issue is a Hoax, just like Russia, Russia, Russia was a Hoax, two Impeachments were a Hoax, the Mueller investigation was a Hoax, and much more," Trump said on his social media post. "Same sleazy people involved. Why wouldn't the FBI allow the inspection of areas at Mar-a-Lago with our lawyer's, or others, present. Made them wait outside in the heat, wouldn't let them get even close – said "ABSOLUTELY NOT." Planting information anyone? Reminds me of a Christopher Steele Dossier!"
The Washington Post, NBC News, the Washington Post, and E.W. Scripps Company on Thursday filed a motion pushing to have all probable cause affidavits that had been filed supporting the search at Trump's estate to be unsealed, citing the "historic importance of these events," reports CBS News.
"Before the events of this week, not since the Nixon Administration had the federal government wielded its power to seize records from a former President in such a public fashion," the document states. "The public's clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred in these circumstances weighs heavily in favor of unsealing."
In addition, The New York Times and the Times Union of Albany, New York, as well as the conservative organization Judicial Watch, filed separate requests with the court on Wednesday for access to all documents, reports CBS News, which has requested to join the Times' request.