AG Merrick Garland refutes Trump’s ‘false and extremely dangerous’ assassination attempt lie

Top Justice Department official explained how former president misconstrued ‘deadly force’ language

John Bowden
Washington DC
Friday 24 May 2024 00:43
‘False’ and ‘extremely dangerous’: AG Garland refutes Trump claim that DOJ had authorization to kill him during Mar-a-Lago search

US Attorney General Merrick Garland has taken the rare step of directly refuting a claim made by Donald Trump.

The AG appeared at a Thursday press conference in Washington, where he took a question from a reporter on the 2024 presidential candidate’s claim that FBI agents were “authorized” by Joe Biden to use “deadly force” against him when they raided his estate and resort at Mar-a-Lago in August of 2022.

MrTrump made the claim on his Truth Social platform on Tuesday after newly unsealed court filings showed that four additional classified documents were discovered in the former president’s bedroom in the months following the initial search.

“That allegation is false, and it is extremely dangerous,” Mr Garland said on Thursday. Mr Garland personally approved the search of Mr Trump’s home before the appointment of a special counsel to handle the department’s prosecution of the former president in two separate cases.

“The document that is being referred to in the allegation is the Justice Department’s standard policy limiting the use of force,” Mr Garland continued. “As the FBI advises, it is part of a standard operations plan for searches and, in fact, it was even used in the consensual search of President Biden’s home.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland appears at the Justice Department for an event on 14 May 2024
Attorney General Merrick Garland appears at the Justice Department for an event on 14 May 2024 (Getty Images)

Mr Trump is accused of a total of 88 felony counts, including charges brought by the Justice Department in two cases involving his allegedly illegal retention of classified documents, as well as his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Two district attorneys in New York and Georgia also have cases against him.

In New York, the former president is accused of more than 30 felony charges related to a hush money scheme involving adult actress Stormy Daniels dating back all the way to his first run for the presidency in 2016. It was after his appearance in that case earlier this week that the ex-president says he was informed of the language in the search warrant for his home.

"Crooked Joe Biden’s DOJ, in their Illegal and UnConstitutional Raid of Mar-a-Lago, AUTHORIZED THE FBI TO USE DEADLY (LETHAL) FORCE," he wrote on Truth Social.

His loyalists, including Marjorie Taylor Greene, have followed suit in twisting the FBI’s standard language to their own ends.

“The Biden DOJ and FBI were planning to assassinate [president] Trump and gave the green light,” the Georgia congresswoman wrote on X.

Mr Garland’s comments at the presser on Thursday followed an official response from an FBI spokesperson earlier in the week.

“The FBI followed standard protocol in this search as we do for all search warrants, which includes a standard policy statement limiting the use of deadly force,” the bureau’s statement read.

“No one ordered additional steps to be taken and there was no departure from the norm in this matter,” it continued.

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