FBI convictions over Trump seizure worry lawmakers

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Several lawmakers on Sunday pushed back against Republican criticism of the court-sanctioned seizure of documents from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, with some GOP members even warning that the violent rhetoric was “dangerous” and “absurd.” .

Still, many Republicans continued to defend the former president, casting doubts on whether the FBI’s search of Trump’s Florida home earlier this week was justified — and whether the documents seized were in fact top secret.

Some party members have accused the FBI of being politically motivated, and the conservative media Breitbart released On Friday, a leaked version of the warrant that contained the names of the FBI agents who participated in the search.

According to the document obtained by The Washington Post. The threats were posted on social media sites, web forums, video-sharing platforms and other chat rooms. The threats include general calls for “civil war” and “armed rebellion”, the bulletin said.

On Sunday, a few Republicans reminded their colleagues that the GOP has long cast itself as the party of law enforcement.

How an archive dispute led the FBI to seek Mar-a-Lago

‘We have to step aside to pass judgment on them,’ Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (right) said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’. “If you want to hold people accountable, it’s the Department of Justice. It was the Attorney General who said he was overseeing this. The FBI is simply fulfilling its responsibilities under the law.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (right) called Republican attacks on the FBI ‘absurd’, noting that his father, an uncle and two cousins ​​worked as FBI agents.

“It’s dangerous because we’ve already seen the only incident,” Hogan said, referring to the shooter who was killed last week. after trying to attack an FBI field office in Cincinnati.

“There are threats everywhere, and losing faith in our federal law enforcement officers, in our justice system, is a really serious problem for the country,” Hogan said on ABC News’ This Week. .

Democrats pounced on Republican attacks on the FBI, seizing the opportunity to appeal to moderates who might be offended by the GOP’s sudden anger at law enforcement officials.

“I used to think the Republican Party supported law enforcement,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.” “And I hope some of them do today because this kind of talk is very dangerous for our country.”

After the search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s residence was unsealed, Republicans demanded that the warrant affidavit be made public. (Video: JM Rieger/The Washington Post)

Court documents unsealed last week included a inventory of seized documents, describing four sets of top secret documents and seven other sets of classified information. One set of documents was listed as “Miscellaneous TS/SCI Classified Documents”, a refers to top secret/sensitive compartmentalized information, a highly classified category of government secrets.

The Washington Post also reported that FBI agents were looking for classified documents on nuclear weaponsamong other elements.

Trump claimed he declassified all records he brought to Mar-a-Lago before he left office, but he offered no supporting evidence.

In CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-California), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, dismissed comments from some Republicans that Trump may have kept documents at Mar -a-Lago which he had declassified during his presidency. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (DN.Y.) and Schiff on Saturday asked for a briefing of Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to find out if the documents posed a threat to national security.

“We need to determine … if there were any efforts during the presidency to go through the declassification process,” Schiff said. “I haven’t seen any evidence of that.”

Although the FBI raid drew national attention to the legal threats Trump faces and his well-documented habit of ignoring safeguards over top-secret information, Hogan said the search was a political victory for Trump. ‘former president.

The episode “seemed to motivate his base and people rushing to his defense and feeling like he was being harassed and martyred,” said Hogan, who has frequently criticized the former president and did not vote for him. in 2020.

“But I don’t think we’ve seen the end of the story yet,” added Hogan, who was consider running for president in 2024.

Rep. Michael R. Turner (Ohio), the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said Attorney General Merrick Garland “has a lot of questions to answer.” Along with calling on the Justice Department to release more information about the recovered documents, Turner speculated that the information in the records might be outdated and may not have technically been classified.

“These are materials that are two years old. We don’t know what they are. We don’t know if they reach the national security threat level,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Another Republican, Sen. Mike Rounds (RS.D.), urged the Justice Department to release the affidavit in support of the search warrant, a document outlining why federal prosecutors believed he was necessary to excavate Mar-a-Lago. He joined other members of his party in suggesting that Trump’s actions might have been legal, saying the former president might have had the power to declassify documents recovered by the FBI.

“I think it’s very important, long-term, for the Department of Justice, now that they’ve done this, to show that this wasn’t just a fishing expedition,” said Rounds, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Cybersecurity Subcommittee. on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

Tim Craig and Maria Sacchetti contributed to this report.

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