S Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday he had "personally approved" the raid on Donald Trump's Florida home and, in a highly unusual move, was requesting the warrant justifying the search be made public.
He also condemned "unfounded attacks" on the FBI and the Justice Department that followed the unprecedented search of the residence of Trump.
"I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant," Garland told reporters. "The department does not take such a decision lightly."
"The search warrant was authorized by a federal court upon the required finding of probable cause," he said.
According to US media, the search related to potential mishandling of classified documents taken to Mar-a-Lago after Trump left the White House in January 2021.
While noting that "ethical obligations" prevented him detailing the basis of the raid, Garland said he had asked a Florida judge to unseal the warrant because Trump had publicly confirmed the search and because of the "substantial public interest in this matter."
Garland criticized "unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors" following the raid.
Leading Republicans have rallied around the former president and harshly denounced the Justice Department and FBI.