Despite claiming an urgent need to conduct a raid at former President Donald Trump's private residence at Mar-a-Lago, Attorney General Merrick Garland was weighing whether to green light the action for weeks, sources told The Wall Street Journal.
The Justice Department and FBI had been meeting on the nature of the raid for weeks, according to sources, and the final raid was executed when Trump was in New York City before a meeting with New York Attorney General Letitia James.
The seeming lack of urgency to retrieve documents from Mar-a-Lago was pointed out last week by Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on Twitter.
"The warrant for Mar-a-Largo was signed Aug. 5, but not executed until Aug. 8," Giuliani tweeted Friday. "Sure makes it clear that what they were looking for wasn't really serious if you could take the weekend off before acting on it."
But the Journal sources say the process was put in place perhaps weeks earlier.
There is an ongoing battle over the affidavit used to secure the search and seizure warrant from Judge Bruce Reinhart. Trump's lawyers and Republicans want to see the predicate for the raid, while the Justice Department is seeking to keep it sealed to protect sources and methods in the investigation.
"If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap to the government's ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, in a manner that is highly likely to compromise future investigative steps," the DOJ filed in court Monday.
House Judiciary Committee Republicans have requested documents and information from Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray on the raid, a request that is unlikely to be fulfilled amid the investigation, the Journal reported.
Garland is still weighing whether to pursue criminal charges for the handling of presidential documents by Trump or his staffers.
"He's both extremely careful and he understands the critical role of an attorney general in these circumstances," former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick told the Journal. "He appreciates the context in which this is occurring.
"I don't think he considers politics at all, but I do think he recognizes the seriousness of actions against a former president."
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