Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday addressed the FBI raid at former President Donald Trump’s Florida home on Monday, saying that he had “personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter.”

Garland said that the Justice Department has asked a judge to unseal a search warrant used by the FBI to raid Mar-a-Lago club.

“The department filed the motion to make public the warrant and receipt in light of the former president’s public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances, and the substantial public interest in this matter,” Garland said at a surprise press conference.

Also Read | Donald Trump says FBI raided Mar-a-Lago ‘with no warning’

The motion was filed in US District Court for the Southern District of Florida, where Mar-a-Lago is located. It was signed by Jay Bratt, chief of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of the National Security Division of the Justice Department.

Trump and his allies alleged that the Department of Justice and Garland, who was appointed by President Joe Biden, searched his property to hurt the former president politically.

The search was likely related to the removal of records from the White House when Trump left office in Jan. 2021.

“Let me address recent unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors,” Garland said at a press conference. “I will not stand by silently, when their integrity is unfairly attacked.” 

“The department does not take such a decision lightly,” he said. “Where possible, it is standard practice to seek less intrusive means as an alternative to a search, and to narrowly scope any search that is undertaken.”

Also Read | Why Justice Department wants to unseal Trump’s Mar-a-Lago raid search warrant

According to Trump’s lawyer, the FBI agents seized about a dozen boxes from Mar-a-Lago on Monday.

A copy of the search warrant that was left by the FBI indicated they were investigating possible violations of laws related to the Presidential Records Act and the handling of classified material.