Read the Justice Department's motion to unseal Trump Mar-a-Lago search warrant

·3 min read

The Department of Justice on Thursday asked a federal court in South Florida to unseal the search warrant that was executed on former President Donald Trump's estate at Mar-a-Lago on Monday.

A copy of the motion says the search warrant was filed with the court prior to its execution on Monday, and that the property receipt – which details what was seized –was filed Thursday. Both documents remain sealed.

"This matter plainly 'concerns public officials or public concerns,'" the Justice Department said in its filing, "as it involves a law enforcement action taken at the property of the 45th President of the United States."

Trump announced the search in a statement Monday afternoon, setting off speculation over what the FBI was after. Sources familiar with the matter told USA TODAY the investigation is related to allegations that Trump removed classified documents from the White House when he left office.

The facts: The Mar-a-Lago search warrant has become a hot topic for speculation. Here's what we really know

What is the DOJ asking for?: The Department of Justice is asking for the judge to make public the search warrant issued on Friday, two unidentified attachments to that search warrant, and a document that describes what the government seized when it searched Mar-a-Lago on Monday.

Why are they asking?: "This matter plainly 'concerns public officials or public concerns,'" the agency wrote in its filing "as it involves a law enforcement action taken at the property of the 45th President of the United States." The filing also cites "the public’s clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred under these circumstances weighs heavily in favor of unsealing.”

Did Trump prompt this?: Merrick Garland said Thursday in a live statement the department filed the motion "in light of the former president's public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances, and the substantial public interest in this matter." Garland also emphasized that the Department of Justice did not previously make public statements about the search.

Who else wants to see the documents?: On Wednesday, three outside organizations also asked the judge to unseal the search warrant and related documents – the New York Times, the Albany Times-Union in New York, and a conservative group called Judicial Watch. The television station CBS filed a similar motion Thursday.

Who has the final say?: Judge Bruce E. Reinhardt in the Southern District of Florida told the Department of Justice to serve its motion to Trump. He gave the government until Friday at 3 p.m. to tell the court whether Trump will go along with making the documents public.

The ball is in Trump's court: Trump and his lawyers can argue against unsealing. The Department of Justice wrote in its court filing Thursday, “the former President should have an opportunity to respond to this Motion and lodge objections" and said he should be able to raise "'legitimate privacy interests' or the potential for other 'injury'" if the documents are made public.

Since 2021, Trump has faced legal scrutiny in at least six independent federal and state inquiries that are both criminal and civil in nature. At least two investigations involve the 2020 election. A bipartisan House committee is digging into Trump's role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. New York's attorney general is investigating the Trump Organization's business practices. The Manhattan district attorney's office also has been probing the Trump Organization. And a federal inquiry into presidential records is ongoing, and appears to have prompted a search by the FBI at his Florida estate. The latest action prompted Trump to make accusations of a "witch hunt" in all levels of government, including the bureau itself. However, FBI director Christopher Wray was appointed by Trump, while he was president.

Read the motion below:

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump search warrant: Read DOJ's motion to unseal the document