We’re waiting for the statement to happen as I write this but CNBC already has a story up about it which only really has one bit of news in it.
Attorney General Merrick Garland is scheduled to make a statement Thursday afternoon, three days after FBI agents raided the Florida residence of former President Donald Trump…
A senior White House official told NBC News on Thursday that they were unaware of what Garland would say.
“We have had no notice that he was giving remarks and no briefing on the content of them,” the official said.
So here we go again with the claim that the White House is completely out the loop with things that are obviously sensitive and political in nature.
Here we go. And right out of the gate, AG Garland says he is filing a motion to unseal the search warrant. As I noted yesterday, there were multiple requests for DOJ to unseal the warrant and a judge had given DOJ until Monday to respond to those requests.
Now Garland is talking about applying the law without “fear or favor” and says he can’t “provide further details as to the basis of the search at this time.” He then adds that he did in fact approve the decision to seek the warrant. You may recall that Newsweek reported yesterday that was not the case.
Garland defends the “dedicated, patriotic public servants” of the FBI. “I am honored to work alongside them,” he said. This is obviously a response to allegations that the FBI may have planted something at Mar-a-Lago. Those allegations were based on nothing and only serve to give Garland a reason to climb on his high horse.
And that’s it. The entire thing was just under four minutes long.
This is immediately being reported as AG Garland calling Trump’s bluff.
CNN’s legal analyst Elie Honig described the announcement as a “remarkable and unusual move” because “we essentially saw Merrick Garland call Donald Trump’s bluff.”
There are hundreds of people on Twitter including a number of blue checks taking credit for this. In Honig’s case this is a bit of a turnaround since, just yesterday he made a point of saying the DOJ was going to have to justify this warrant. Now that DOJ is taking a step to do that he’s acting like it’s a surprise smackdown of Trump instead of the minimum DOJ needs to do to make this decision make sense. I’m sure the pressure to turn everything into a Trump smackdown is immense at CNN but it’s not really helpful.
Finally, an point about what the Garland decision probably means:
DoJ’s willingness to unseal the warrant suggests there is not a larger criminal investigation at work here—that this was about the documents.
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) August 11, 2022
As I said earlier, maybe there’s something really dramatic on that list of seized documents but it appears that’s all this is about.
Here’s the video of Garland’s full statement.