The FBI‘s unannounced search of Donald Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago resort last week has divided the Republican Party, as some heap criticism on the Justice Department while others caution their voters to wait for all the facts to come out.
It comes after a week of explosive revelations that began with the FBI operation to retrieve classified documents sought by the National Archives, included Attorney General Merrick Garland stating he personally approved the request that set the raid in motion, and capped off with accusations that the ex-president may have illegally taken national security records from the White House when he left office.
‘On a bipartisan basis, Congress is saying, show us the goods. We want to know, one, what did the Department of Justice and the FBI tell the judge that they were going to find and what did they find?’ GOP Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio told CNN‘s State of the Union on Sunday.
‘Now, clearly, no one is above the law. Donald Trump is not above the law. And Attorney General Garland is not above the law either.’
The warrant was approved by a federal judge and unsealed Friday based on an agreement between Trump’s attorneys and the DOJ. But lawmakers like Turner from both sides of the aisle have demanded the release of the affidavit, which would include details like why the warrant was sought in the first place.
Meanwhile others within the GOP have responded to the raid by accusing Garland of weaponizing the DOJ against one of President Joe Biden’s political rivals, citing Trump’s hints that he may run for president again in 2024.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, one of Trump’s most vocal allies in Congress, announced on Friday that she had filed articles of impeachment against Garland.
Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio maintained that ‘no one is above the law’ but demanded more answers from the Justice Department on the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago
Greene claimed Garland’s personal approval for agents to seek a search warrant of Trump’s Florida home ‘constitutes a blatant attempt to persecute a political opponent.’
Before the warrant was unsealed she said the attorney general’s request to make it public ‘constitutes an attempt to intimidate, harass, and potentially disqualify a political challenger to President Joseph R Biden, Jr’ – despite even Trump calling for the document to be released.
The largely symbolic impeachment filing is highly unlikely to pass the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.
The White House has repeatedly stated that Biden had no prior knowledge of the raid, nor of Garland’s remarks on Thursday regarding it.
But the avalanche of verbal attacks from Republican allies of Trump appear to have led to a surge in threats against FBI employees and other DOJ workers.
The FBI and Department of Homeland released a bulletin warning of ‘violent threats’ against federal law enforcement agencies in the coming weeks over the matter.
But while Republican Rep. Turner urged further investigation, he added that he had a ‘high level of skepticism’ that the ex-president took White House documents so classified that it necessitated a law enforcement raid on his home.
Meanwhile other members of his party are already claiming that it was the result of political persecution
‘We give them authority to be intrusive and invasive. And that’s to be used sparingly. There are other options that are available to him. The fact that they spent nine hours in Trump’s residence, they are going to have to justify,’ Turner said.
‘But we don’t have to speculate. We have all the clearance. Congress has all the powers of oversight. All Attorney Garland has to do is comply with the laws, provide this information to us, let us look.’
In one tense exchange, host Brianna Keilar pressed Turner on whether he himself would ever take classified documents home from Congress.
‘No,’ he answered, before adding: ‘And, quite frankly, I have been in the Oval Office with the president. I’d be very surprised if he has actual documents that rise to the level of an immediate national security threat.’
Meanwhile his fellow House Republican, Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, expressed dismay at the heightened threat environment for Justice workers.
Donald Trump himself has been claiming that he is the victim of a weaponized Justice Department
Greene’s move to impeach Attorney General Garland over approving agents’ request to seek a warrant, which was then approved by a federal judge, is largely symbolic and unlikely to pass
‘I think when you saw the DHS bulletin about potential threats now to the agents, this is the whole fabric of our democracy and they have lost faith, many have, in the FBI and our institutions,’ McCaul said on CBS News’ Face The Nation.
‘I hate to see that as a former federal prosecutor.’
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, himself a former FBI agent, urged his fellow Republicans to calm their rhetoric about the DOJ.
‘I checked in with several of my colleagues in the past few days, Margaret, to make sure they were okay. Every single elected official, every single leader needs to mind the weight of their words,’ he told Face The Nation.
He said that included everyone up to the former president himself.
‘I think everybody needs to be calling for calm, everybody across the board. And everybody needs to respect our law enforcement, whether they be local, state or federal,’ Fitzpatrick said.