Many Republicans are livid about the FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home Monday.
Some are threatening investigations of the Justice Department and FBI if Republicans win control of the Senate or House this fall. Others have called for dismantling the FBI, severing ties between states and federal agencies and possibly impeaching Attorney General Merrick Garland.
What You Need To Know
- Many Republicans are livid about the FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home Monday
- Some are threatening investigations of the Justice Department and FBI if Republicans win control of the Senate or House this fall
- Others have called for dismantling the FBI, severing ties between states and federal agencies and possibly impeaching Attorney General Merrick Garland
- Several Republicans sought to connect the Mar-a-Lago search and the tax, health care and climate bill passed Sunday by the Senate without GOP support; one of the bill's provisions would allocate $80 billion over 10 years to the IRS, more than half meant to catch tax cheats
The FBI searched Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida, estate on Monday as part of an investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House, people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.
In a statement, Trump baselessly tried to paint a picture of Democrats weaponizing the federal justice system to attack political enemies.
According to multiple reports, Biden administration officials say they had no advanced knowledge of Monday’s FBI operation. In TV interviews Monday night and Tuesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said they only learned about the search through media reports.
Democrats "believe in the rule of law, and that's what our country is about, and no person is above the law," Pelosi asserted to NBC News on Tuesday. "Not even the President of the United States. Not even a former president of the United States."
But that did not stop Republicans from echoing Trump’s accusation that the FBI probe is fueled by politics.
“We’re 100 days away from midterm elections,” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina tweeted. “President Trump is likely going to run again in 2024. No one is above the law. The law must be above politics.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida wrote on Twitter: “The FBI raid of Mar-A-Lago is the most defining moment of the Joe Biden presidency. It was a political performance against Trump,” adding that he believes “this administrative state … has been weaponized against our people in a very fascist way.”
Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence, said he “shares the deep concern of millions of Americans over the unprecedented search of the personal residence of President Trump.”
“No former President of the United States has ever been subject to a raid of their personal residence in American history,” Pence tweeted.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee called the investigation a “political witch hunt.” Rep. Michael Cloud of Texas said the search was a “perversion of justice.” Conservative radio host Buck Sexton said it felt like a “preemptive coup” aimed at preventing Trump from running for president again.
Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio compared the search to actions seen in Third World countries. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia said it “is the rogue behavior of communist countries, NOT the United States of America!!!
Though a search warrant does not necessarily mean criminal charges are near or even expected, federal officials looking to obtain one must first demonstrate to a judge that they have probable cause that a crime occurred.
Several Republicans, including Sens. Blackburn, Ted Cruz of Texas and Roger Marshall of Kansas, sought to connect the Mar-a-Lago search and the tax, health care and climate bill passed Sunday by the Senate without GOP support. One provision in the legislation, which the House must still vote on, would allocate $80 billion over 10 years to the IRS, more than half meant to catch tax cheats.
“This means we’re all fair game for our newly enlarged gov’t oversight - no one is safe from political persecution,” Marshall tweeted.
On Monday night, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy released a statement vowing to investigate the Justice Department if the GOP wins control of the House in the midterm elections.
“The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization,” McCarthy said in a statement.
“Attorney General Garland, preserve your documents and clear your calendar,” the California Republican added.
Sen. Rick Scott made a similar threat but took it a step further, saying Garland could face impeachment.
“When Republicans retake the majority in the Senate, there will a thorough and aggressive investigation,” he said in a statement. “Everything needs to be on the table for AG Garland, including impeachment if he doesn’t come out today and explain what happened. Today, the nation is watching and we demand answers.”
The Justice Department has not publicly commented on the search and did not respond to an email from Spectrum News on Tuesday asking if it planned to issue a statement. The department traditionally does not comment on investigations.
Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, wrote a letter to FBI Director Chris Wray demanding “immediate answers” about the search.
“As the Ranking Member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I am unaware of any actual or alleged national security threat posed by any information, data, or documents in possession of former President Trump,” Turner wrote.
Also in Arizona, gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, whom Trump has endorsed, called for “firing” the federal government over the Mar-a-Lago search.
“Our Government is rotten to the core,” she said in a statement. “These tyrants will stop at nothing to silence the Patriots who are working hard to save America. This is an incredibly horrendous abuse of power. If we accept it, America is dead.
“The 10th Amendment can and will save our Republic and the road to stripping the Feds of power travels right through Arizona.
“We must fire the Federal Government,” Lake said.
In Florida, state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, who is running for Congress, said Florida should cut all ties with the DOJ immediately.
“Any FBI agent conducting law enforcement functions outside the purview of our State should be arrested upon sight,” he wrote on Twitter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.