The US attorney general has said he “personally approved” to seek a search warrant on Donald Trump’s Florida residence.
In a statement made in Washington DC, Merrick Garland said the Justice Department did “not take the decision lightly”.
He confirmed that federal agents searched Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on Monday to probe whether he illegally removed records from the White House as he was leaving office.
The Justice Department has faced pressure since the raid to provide a public explanation for the search.
Mr Garland added that the department has asked a court to unseal the search warrant, due to “substantial public interest”.
Mr Trump announced the search himself in a statement on Monday, claiming that agents had broken into his safe and said it represented “dark times for our nation”.
Following the unprecedented search, the Justice Department has faced fierce criticism, with Trump supporters, and some of his fellow Republicans in Washington accusing Democrats of weaponising the federal bureaucracy to target