Specifically, CNN and the other outlets are asking for the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida to unseal the entire record filed with the court, including all probable cause affidavits filed in support of the search warrant.
But there are other documents that prosecutors file with federal courts when seeking search warrant, including affidavits from investigators laying out why they believe that there is probable cause that a crime was committed and the evidence of that crime existed in recent days at the site where the search was sought.
Garland said Thursday that he would not be “providing further details as to the basis of the search at this time.” The department also declined to comment on why it is not seeking to unseal the affidavits.
The court has instructed the Justice Department to confer with Trump and tell the court by Friday afternoon whether the former president opposes the release of the documents.
In the unsealing filing by CNN and the other outlets with the court, they pointed to “the historic importance of these events.”
“Before the events of this week, not since the Nixon Administration had the federal government wielded its power to seize records from a former President in such a public fashion,” the outlets said in the filing.
The filing said that “tremendous public interest in these records in particular outweighs any purported interest in keeping them secret.”
“The Media Intervenors certainly do not seek these records for any illegitimate purpose,” the outlets said. “To the contrary, public access to these records will promote public understanding of this historically significant, unprecedented execution of a search warrant in the residence of a former President.”
The FBI executed a search warrant on Trump’s Florida resort Mar-a-Lago on Monday.
“Any compelling government interest in the ongoing investigation that the government can demonstrate through competent, compelling proof can and should be satisfied with narrow redactions before the Court orders the remainder released,” the outlets said.
The outlets, in seeking the warrant materials’ unsealing, pointed to Trump’s and his attorneys’ public discussion of the search, including their disclosure of “information about the subject matter of the search warrant.”
“Given the former President’s own public discussion, the seriousness of the allegations against him, and the condemnations of law enforcement by his supporters, disclosure of the Search Warrant Records could not be more in the public interest,” the filing said. “Trump can hardly claim that his reputational or privacy interests would be harmed by public review of what he characterizes as a ‘witch hunt.'”
Other entities have asked the court to unseal warrants thought to be connected to the search. Similar requests filed separately by the conservative group Judicial Watch, as well as the news outlets the Albany Times Union and The New York Times, have prompted a magistrate judge to order that the Justice Department respond to the requests by 5 p.m. ET on Monday. That response can be filed secretly, the court said, but the department will also have to file a redacted version on the public docket.
CNN’s Hannah Rabinowitz contributed to this report.