President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he was not given advance notice by the Department of Justice or Attorney General Merrick Garland about the FBI raid at the Florida home of former President Donald Trump Aug. 8.
"I didn't have any advance notice," Biden said when asked by a reporter after announcing his student debt relief plan at the White House Wednesday. "None, zero, not one single bit."
Biden's acknowledgement that Garland, who admitted that he "personally" signed off on seeking the unprecedented search warrant on Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, has made some people wonder why the attorney general would not at least give the White House a heads-up on the situation.
In a statement on the raid Aug. 11, Garland said he gave a green light to seek the warrant, and said he supported those involved in the investigation, Politico reported.
"I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant," Garland said. "I will not stand by silently when [the agents'] integrity is unfairly attacked."
Some 30 FBI agents descended on the resort and home of the former president to look for "materials marked as classified," leaving with 26 boxes.
When asked the following day if the White House was aware of the action, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said they had no indication about the warrant or the raid.
"The Justice Department conducts investigations independently," she told reporters during the Aug. 9 briefing at the White House. "We leave any law enforcement matters to them. It would not be appropriate for us to comment on any ongoing investigations. I can say that President Biden has been unequivocal since the campaign. He believes in the rule of law, in the independence of the Justice Department and that those investigations should be free from political influence, and he has held that commitment as president."
She said that the administration learned about the raid through "public reports."
Just the News published a May 10 letter Monday from the National Archives to the Trump legal team, informing them that Biden and the White House Counsel were aware of the back-and-forth about outstanding documents the Archives wanted from the former president and stating that Biden had "deferred" to the archivist about proceeding.
"I have concluded that there is no reason to grant your request for a further delay before the FBI and others in the intelligence community begin their reviews," U.S. Archivist Debra Steidel Wall’s letter to the Trump legal team said. "Accordingly, NARA will provide the FBI access to the records in question as requested by the incumbent president [Biden], beginning as early as Thursday, May 12, 2022."
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