The Justice Department filed a motion in a federal court in Florida Thursday to unseal the warrant that led to the search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home on Monday - "absent objection" by the former president.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the decision to file the motion on Thursday afternoon, addressing the search publicly for the first time amid a swirl of public interest and outcry from conservative Republicans.
"The department filed the motion to make public the warrant and receipt in light of the former president's public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances and the substantial public interest in this matter," Garland said.
The attorney general said that Trump's public acknowledgment of the search Monday night led to "significant interest and attention" from the public, while noting that the Justice Department and FBI, which conducted the search, had remained silent on the matter.
"The Department of Justice will speak through its court filings and its work," the attorney general said. Garland confirmed that he personally approved the warrant.
The motion asks the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida to unseal the initial search warrant, as well as a redacted return receipt of the motion listing the items obtained in the search, unless Trump objects. It also notes that Trump's legal counsel has already received copies of these documents.
"Given the intense public interest presented by a search of a resident of a former president, the government believes these factors favor unsealing of the search warrant," the motion reads.
Garland said in his statement that "faithful adherence to the rule of law is the bedrock principle of the Justice Department and of our democracy."
"Upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly without fear or favor. Under my watch, that is precisely what the Justice Department is doing," Garland said.
He also addressed what he called "unfounded attacks" against federal law enforcement that have increased since the search, including an incident in Cincinnati on Thursday morning in which an armed man attempted to breach an FBI facility.
"I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked," Garland said. "The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated, patriotic public servants. 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."
Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart ordered the DOJ to advise by 3 p.m. on Friday whether Trump opposes the motion to unseal the search warrant and property receipt.
In a statement posted to Truth Social after Garland's comments, Trump continued to criticize the search warrant, saying his "attorneys and representatives were cooperating fully."
"Everything was fine, better than that of most previous Presidents, and then, out of nowhere and with no warning, Mar-a-Lago was raided, at 6:30 in the morning, by VERY large numbers of agents, and even 'safecrackers,'" Trump wrote. "They got way ahead of themselves. Crazy!"
Trump said the government "could have had whatever they wanted, if we we had it." He added that he had already "put an additional lock on a certain area."