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DOJ isn't playing politics with Trump search warrant, Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says

Alberto Gonzales on Trump Raid
Posted at 5:52 PM, Aug 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-09 19:33:32-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It's something that's never happened in the history of the United States of America.

Former President Donald Trump's Florida home was searched Monday night, under a federal search warrant requested by the Department of Justice and the FBI, and approved by a federal judge.

Some are calling this the road to justice, others claim it's a witch hunt. Either way, legal experts say it was likely approved by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

"Obviously, it’s unprecedented," said former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who now serves as the Dean of Law at Belmont University.

Gonzales served from 2005-2007 in President George W. Bush's Administration as Attorney General. Before that, he was White House Counsel for Bush. While Gonzales admits that he doesn't know many of the details of the investigation into former President Donald Trump, he's confident the current AG didn't make this decision lightly.

"It’s one that I’m sure that Attorney General Garland considered very, very carefully, understanding there would be howls of partisanship and politicking and things of that nature," said Gonzales. "But as Attorney General, you get used to the criticism and the second-guessing, and you do what you think is right."

While Gonzales never had to make a decision on search warrants levied against former presidents, he did have a comparable unprecedented moment. In 2006, Gonzales and his team made the controversial decision to request a search warrant for a sitting member of Congress's office. To avoid the appearance of politics being at play, they didn't tell the White House until the search was already approved by a judge and underway.

Gonzales speculates something similar may have happened between AG Garland and the Biden White House.

Sources tell CBS News, that the investigation into Mr. Trump centers around the president's mishandling of documents that should have gone over to the National Archives.

"When someone mishandles classified information, it’s a federal crime, and there has to be repercussions from violating federal crimes — no matter who you are," said Gonzales.

Already, President Trump and his allies are framing this search warrant as a witch hunt.

"I’m disappointed at some of the statements from political foes of President Biden about the department being weaponized and being used by political enemies. Listen, everything so far, that I can see and tell, was done by the book," said Gonzales.

Of course, not only is Donald Trump a former president, he may also run for the presidency in 2024. Gonzales says, even though the situation is unique, no one is above the law.

"What’s happening now is something that happens every day, and the only difference is, and it’s a unique difference of course, is that this involved the search of a home of a former president," he said.