Attorney General Merrick Garland just concluded a press conference informing the country that the Department of Justice has filed a motion to unseal the warrant that resulted in the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago this week. While the DOJ originally requested that the warrant be sealed — to protect Trump’s rights, according to Garland — now that Trump and his team have started ranting about it to the media, the DOJ is asking the court to unseal it.
In a nutshell, Republicans spent the last few days complaining that the DOJ refused to tell the world what was in the warrant — something Trump could have publicly disclosed at any point if he so wished — banking on the DOJ to remain silent while conspiratorial impulses took over. Merrick Garland politely decided to allow Trump to reap what he’s sown.
In fact, it’s likely to get even more embarrassing for Trump. The motion concludes by inviting Trump to contest the effort to unseal the warrant, forcing a reckoning where the former president — who howled for several days about the DOJ’s secrecy — to go to court himself to keep it secret. Which he presumably will since the only imaginable reason why he hasn’t released it himself is a deep concern over its contents. [UPDATE: The judge has set a deadline of August 25 for Trump’s team to respond. UPDATE 2: Though they have until tomorrow to confer and decide IF they’re going to oppose.]
The moral of this story is that whatever issues one may have with Merrick Garland’s administration of the Department of Justice — and we’ve had some of them in these pages — the man is not going to let the DOJ get bullied.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.
For more of the latest in litigation, regulation, deals and financial services trends, sign up for Finance Docket, a partnership between Breaking Media publications Above the Law and Dealbreaker.