Republicans rush to Trump’s defense after FBI executes search warrant at Mar-a-Lago

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Attorney General Merrick Garland to ‘preserve your paperwork and clear your calendar’, warning of an oversight inquiry ‘when’ Republicans take over the chamber in the election mid-term.

“The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of militarized politicization,” McCarthy said.

House Republicans briefly discussed the FBI research during a conference call on Tuesday, multiple sources told CNN. Top Republicans have made it clear that they want answers and a full account from the Justice Department.

The call had previously been scheduled to discuss the Cut Inflation Act which comes to the House floor on Friday.

But at the top of the call, McCarthy kicked things off, then handed things over to Rep. Jim Jordan, the House Judiciary Committee’s top Republican, and Rep. Mike Turner, the Intelligence Committee’s top Republican. from the room.

They reiterated their demands for accountability, but did not say what their specific oversight plans will be if they win a majority.

Trump is also expected to meet with a dozen members of the House Republican Review Committee, led by Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, on Tuesday at his residence in Bedminster, New Jersey, according to a person familiar with their plans, providing an opportunity timely for the former president to rally members to his side after the FBI raid.

A CNN poll from July found that a majority of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters do not want Trump to be their party’s nominee in the 2024 presidential election. But the former president is still powerful within the party; Republican candidates across the country sought his endorsement in their 2022 primaries, and on Saturday Trump won an unofficial poll overwhelmingly at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Texas.

Rallying around Trump, many Republicans, including Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, instead attacked Democrats after the FBI raid was announced, with some saying Biden himself should be the subject of an investigation. investigation.

“There must be an immediate investigation and accountability of Joe Biden and his administration who weaponized this department against their political opponents – the likely 2024 Republican nominee for President of the United States,” said Rep. New York Elise Stefanik, member of the House GOP. leadership.

Turner, the House Intelligence Committee’s top Republican, asked for an “immediate briefing” from FBI Director Christopher Wray, saying the agency’s action was “unprecedented” and that he was “blind to any real or perceived threat to national security” posed by the documents in Trump’s possession.

Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley, a potential 2024 nominee, criticized Biden, saying he “dragged our republic into dangerous waters” and called on Garland to resign or be impeached.

“At a minimum, Garland needs to resign or be removed. The search warrant needs to be out. Christoper Wray needs to be removed. And the FBI has been reformed from the ground up,” Hawley said. tweeted.

Former Vice President Mike Pence asked Garland to provide a “full account” of the FBI’s search.

“I share the deep concern of millions of Americans over the unprecedented search of President Trump’s personal residence,” Pence tweeted.

“Yesterday’s action undermines public confidence in our justice system and Attorney General Garland must account to the American people for why this action was taken, and he must do so immediately,” he said. he declares.

While many prominent Republicans were quick to criticize the Biden administration and defend Trump, others took a more low-key approach as questions lingered around the cause of the FBI search.

Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, a member of the Senate Republican leadership, tweeted: “To raid the home of a former president is unprecedented. The Justice Department needs to quickly and transparently tell the American people who approved of this raid and why it happened.”

The office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to comment.

Democrats have responded that no one is above the law.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on NBC’s Today program that she first learned of the FBI’s search when she was “blinking” on her phone, and repeatedly said she only knew what was public.

“We believe in the rule of law,” Pelosi added.

And Rep. Carolyn Maloney, chair of the House Oversight Committee investigating Trump’s handling of documents, called on the Justice Department to “fully investigate” the former president’s handling of information.

“Presidents have a solemn duty to protect the national security of the United States, and allegations that former President Trump endangered our security by mishandling classified information warrants intense scrutiny,” the Democrat said. New York. “While details of today’s actions at Mar-a-Lago continue to emerge, it is clear that the Department of Justice must fully investigate President Trump’s potentially serious mishandling of classified information.”

A number of Senate Republicans have cried foul over the Justice Department taking action against Trump, a former and suspected future rival of President Joe Biden.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said, “President Trump will likely run again in 2024,” and noted that the midterm elections will be in less than 100 days. “Launching such an investigation of a former president so close to an election is more than problematic.”

The FBI search has also quickly become a talking point in Florida’s gubernatorial race. Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential Republican rival to Trump in 2024, tweeted, “The MAL raid is another escalation in the weaponization of federal agencies against political opponents of the regime,” referring to the Biden administration.

Florida Rep. Charlie Crist, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, fired back, “Governor DeSantis’ knee-jerk partisan response to this law enforcement action proves once again that he is more interested in politics than through the pursuit of justice or the rule of law.”

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, Rebekah Metzler, Zachary Cohen and Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.

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