Former President Donald Trump speaks during the Presidential Debate at Hofstra University on September 26, 2016 in Hempstead, New York. (Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images)
Donald Trump repeatedly declared on Truth Social on Thursday night that he wants to “release the documents” related to the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago home earlier this week.“Not only will I not oppose the release of documents related to the unAmerican, unwarranted, and unnecessary raid…I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents,” Trump said in a late-night post on his own social media platform.
What Trump didn’t post on Truth Social was that he actually has the documents themselves—and has been free to publish them since the FBI first knocked on the door of his Florida residence on Monday morning. “They have to leave a copy of the search warrant as well as the inventory of what they took at the location where they took it. It’s up to [Trump’s team] whether they want to show the rest of the world what that says,” David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of Florida, told VICE News.Trump’s posts came hours after the Department of Justice moved to unseal the search warrant and other documents related to the FBI search. The news was announced at a brief press conference held by Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday, the first public comment by the DOJ since the unprecedented search of an ex-president’s home.The DOJ filed the motion to unseal with a court in South Florida. Judge Bruce Reinhart, who signed the original warrant, received violent death threats as a result. Reinhart gave the Justice Department until 3 p.m. Friday to tell him if Trump’s team agreed to the unsealing of the search-related documents.CBS reported Thursday that Trump’s legal team has been weighing whether to release the documents they have, according to Florida-based Trump attorney Lindsey Halligan.
Halligan said their team has videos and photos of the search from Mar-a-Lago’s private security cameras, which CBS reports the FBI asked to be turned off. Trump’s legal team reportedly refused. Trump’s legal team is considering releasing the footage, Halligan said.Halligan also told CBS that the FBI had given them a “bare-bones” search warrant that does not include the underlying reasons why the search was conducted. She added that the log of items taken from Mar-a-Lago was also “vague.”Of course, Trump’s legal team might not really want the search warrant and accompanying documents released, given the potentially damaging nature of the items being sought in the search—which the Washington Post reported Thursday were “nuclear documents,” among other items.Trump addressed the Washington Post’s report in another Truth Social post early Friday morning, calling it a “hoax,” before going on to once again boost the baseless conspiracy theory that the FBI planted evidence at his home. The search of Mar-a-Lago has sparked a vicious backlash among Trump’s supporters, including many high-profile Republican Party leaders and members of the right-wing media, as well as the far-right. They have led and boosted calls for civil war, while extremists online have violently threatened and doxed Reinhart and his family.On Thursday, a Trump supporter attacked an FBI office in Cincinnati with a nail gun and an AR-15-style rifle, claiming on social media that he had been inspired to take action as a result of the search of Trump’s home. Like Trump, the attacker was also an avid user of Truth Social, and in the middle of the attack, while being sought by law enforcement, he updated his Truth Social status one last time. “If you don’t hear from me, it is true I tried attacking the F.B.I. and it’ll mean either I was taken off the internet, the F.B.I. got me, or they sent the regular cops,” he wrote, hours before an armed standoff with police ended in the 42-year-old being shot and killed.