A group of House Republicans said Friday they won’t be satisfied if a federal judge releases documents related to the FBI’s search this week on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
What You Need To Know
- A group of House Republicans said Friday they won’t be satisfied if a federal judge releases documents related to the FBI’s search this week on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home
- GOP members of the House Intelligence Committee on Friday called for the Justice Department and FBI to release information to the panel that would explain their possible national security concerns for ordering the search and why they didn’t pursue less intrusive methods to obtain the documents
- In calling for more visibility into the investigation, House Republicans continued to question the credibility of Justice Department and FBI leadership
- The Republicans’ criticism comes a day after a man tried to enter the FBI’s Cincinnati office with an AR-15-style rifle and nail gun, fled and was later fatally shot by police following a standoff
GOP members of the House Intelligence Committee on Friday called for the Justice Department and FBI to release information, including the underlying affidavit, to the panel that would explain their possible national security concerns for ordering the search and why they didn’t pursue less intrusive methods to obtain the documents.
The Justice Department on Thursday filed a motion to unseal the search warrant and inventory of items retrieved in the search. Trump and his attorneys have until 3 p.m. Eastern time Friday to object to the motion. Trump on Thursday night called for the immediate release of the documents.
But Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said there would still be “many unanswered questions” even if those documents are made public.
“That's why our request remains that the director of the FBI and the attorney general disclose to this committee the imminent national security threat upon which they based their decision to order a raid upon the president's home, again underscoring that there were many other options available to them,” Turner said during a news conference at the Capitol.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday he authorized the search and that the Justice Department, when possible, prefers to pursue “less intrusive means as an alternative to a search.”
According to multiple reports, Trump received a federal grand jury subpoena for documents federal investigators believed he had failed to turn over earlier. Turner suggested the Justice Department could have taken Trump to court to enforce the subpoena before searching his home.
The congressman added that Republicans on the committee are “very concerned about the disturbing reports that there was an informant, perhaps someone even undercover, at Mar-a-Lago or around” Trump. The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek reported this week that an informant tipped off investigators about classified documents that allegedly remained at the private club in Palm Beach.
The Washington Post reported Thursday night that FBI agents were searching Mar-a-Lago for classified documents related to nuclear weapons. On Truth Social on Friday, Trump said the "Nuclear weapons issue is a Hoax."
In calling for more visibility into the investigation, House Republicans continued to question the credibility of Justice Department and FBI leadership.
Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York said the Mar-a-Lago search is evidence of “Joe Biden and his administration's weaponization of the Department of Justice and FBI against Joe Biden's political opponent.”
“The FBI raid of President Trump is a complete abuse and overreach of its authority,” Stefanik said.
The White House has insisted Biden had no advanced knowledge of the search.
House Republicans said the DOJ and FBI should not be afforded the benefit of the doubt following the lengthy investigation into links between Trump’s 2016 campaign and the Russian government, which found no evidence of collusion. They also suggested Trump is being treated more harshly than Hillary Clinton was when the FBI investigated her in 2016 for using a private email server that held classified files.
“Perception is reality,” said Rep. Trent Kelly of Mississippi. “So it doesn't matter if you're doing right if people perceive that you're doing wrong. And the only way to change that perception is through transparency.”
The Republicans’ criticism comes a day after a man tried to enter the FBI’s Cincinnati office with an AR-15-style rifle and nail gun, fled and was later fatally shot by police following a standoff. The man appeared to have posted messages on Trump’s Truth Social platform calling for FBI agents to be killed following the Mar-a-Lago search.
Republican politicians unleashed a wave of unrelenting criticism of the FBI immediately after Trump revealed the search Monday. For example, Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona tweeted, “We must destroy the FBI.” Without evidence, Trump has suggested FBI agents may have planted incriminating evidence, a sentiment echoed by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Fox News host Jesse Watters.
In Arizona, gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has called for “firing” the federal government over the Mar-a-Lago search, while Florida congressional candidate Anthony Sabatini said his state should cut all ties with the DOJ immediately and arrest “any FBI agent conducting law enforcement functions outside the purview of our State.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., expressed concern about the growing inflammatory rhetoric from her Republican colleagues.
"I know very well how vicious they can be for a long time now," Pelosi said at her weekly press conference on Friday. "But it's certainly enhanced ... exacerbated by the statements of the president. You would think there would be an adult in the Republican room that would say, 'just calm down, see what the facts are and let's go for that,' instead of ... instigating assaults on law enforcement."
In a tweet Thursday, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., condemned such attacks on the FBI.
“I have been ashamed to hear members of my party attacking the integrity of the FBI agents involved with the recent Mar-a-Lago search,” she said. “These are sickening comments that put the lives of patriotic public servants at risk.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., said in a tweet that Stefanik’s remarks at Friday’s news conference are “going to get cops killed.”
Garland defended the work of the Justice Department and FBI on Thursday.
“I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked,” he said. “The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated, patriotic public servants. Every day, they protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism and other threats to their safety, while safeguarding our civil rights. They do so at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves. I am honored to work alongside them.”
And in a news conference Wednesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray called threats circulating online against federal agents and the Justice Department “deplorable and dangerous.”
Turner said Friday that all the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee condemn violence against law enforcement officers and support the rank-and-file members of the Justice Department of FBI.