Republicans rally behind Trump after search warrant unsealed
(The Hill) – House Republicans wasted no time Friday in rallying behind former President Trump following a court’s decision to unseal the search warrant that authorized the FBI to search his Mar-a-Lago residence in South Florida earlier in the week.
The new public warrant revealed that the Justice Department suspected Trump of violating the Espionage Act, among other federal laws, when he stored tons of documents at Mar-a-Lago after leaving his duties last year.
On Monday, FBI agents recovered 11 sets of documents classified as somewhat classified, an inventory of seized items showed, including a set labeled “miscellaneous classified documents/TS/CSI,” a highly classified category of sensitive items. usually belonging to Security. Officers also recovered four sets of “top secret” items.
But Republican lawmakers dismissed the news on Friday, accusing the Department of Justice (DOJ) of conducting a political witch hunt designed for the sole purpose of politically harming Trump as he weighs another race for the White House in 2024. .
“What they did to President Trump is political persecution,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) told reporters on the steps of the Capitol. “Merrick Garland abused his position of power, as Attorney General, to politically persecute Joe Biden’s enemies. And all of this is to prevent President Trump from being able to perform his duties. »
“We cannot tolerate this in America,” she continued, “where our great institutions are used and abused in ways that defeat the political enemies of the people.”
Greene then entered the Capitol and presented articles of impeachment against Garland.
She was hardly alone. Other GOP lawmakers have also defended Trump against a DOJ they describe as out of control. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), another close Trump ally, questioned why the department isn’t continuing its investigation of Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, who has been the subject of scrutiny for using a private server to conduct official business, but was never charged.
“Did they find Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 deleted emails in the vault? That’s what I want to see,” said Boebert, who also endorsed the effort to impeach Garland.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), chairman of the Republican Review Committee, didn’t go that far, but accused Garland of withholding information vital to the public’s understanding of the investigation.
“The fact that Merrick Garland is selectively working through the media rather than releasing further details, again – makes it all very fishy,” he said. “There are so many things the American people deserve to know that we don’t know.”
Other Republicans pointed to various DOJ investigations into the past, suggesting the department is soft on Democrats and their allies while dropping the hammer on Republicans and other conservatives.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) cited another concern, saying he feared the DOJ had been too aggressive in targeting a former president.
“People are rightly upset [about] the precedent it sets. It seems highly pointless to send armed FBI agents to Mar-a-Lago when he could have simply subpoenaed these documents. He supposedly knew they were there. He was already cooperating…with other documents,” Crenshaw said.
Earlier in the year, Trump turned over 15 boxes of documents and other documents to the National Archives. The DOJ then subpoenaed Trump to appear for additional documents the agency suspected he had withheld.
Garland on Thursday had made a highly unusual statement defending Monday’s search, saying the DOJ tried “less intrusive means” first, which failed to provide the remaining documents.
Democrats, meanwhile, have defended the agency. As they eagerly await more details, they are expressing concern that at least some of the documents may have been related to defense and national security.
“If the nature of these documents is what [it] seems to be, it’s very serious,” Chair Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said.
Emily Brooks contributed.
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