Friday, February 3

Republicans speak out against FBI raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate


Since news broke that the FBI searched former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on Monday, a growing number of Republicans have spoken out against the raid.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tweeted a statement that read in part: “I’ve seen enough.”

“The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization,” McCarthy continued. “When Republicans take back the House, we will conduct immediate oversight of this department, follow the facts, and leave no stone unturned.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., took it a step further, tweeting: “DEFUND THE FBI!”

A Twitter account for Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee run by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, tweeted: “This is what happens in third world countries. Not the United States.” Another tweet read: “If they can do it to a former President, imagine what they can do to you.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in a series of tweets that “launching such an investigation of a former President this close to an election is beyond problematic.”

“We’re 100 days away from midterm elections. President Trump is likely going to run again in 2024,” Graham tweeted. “No one is above the law. The law must be above politics.

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, called the Mar-a-Lago search “incredibly concerning.”

“We need answers NOW,” Scott tweeted. “The FBI must explain what they were doing today & why.”

Several Republican senators used the operation to further criticize President Joe Biden’s sweeping climate, health care and tax bill, which Senate Democrats passed on Sunday and which includes nearly $80 billion in funding for the Internal Revenue Service. For instance, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., tweeted: “After todays raid on Mar A Lago what do you think the left plans to use those 87,000 new IRS agents for?”

FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort is seen in Palm Beach, Florida, Feb. 8, 2021.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort is seen in Palm Beach, Florida, Feb. 8, 2021.

Marco Bello/Reuters, File

Other Republicans, including potential 2024 presidential candidates, continued to attack the Justice Department and the FBI.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted that the raid “is another escalation in the weaponization of federal agencies,” then said: “Banana Republic.”

Former Secretary of State and ex-CIA Director Mike Pompeo said executing a search warrant against a former president “is dangerous.”

“The apparent political weaponization of DOJ/FBI is shameful,” Pompeo tweeted. “I served on Benghazi Com where we proved Hilliary [sic] possessed classified info. We didn’t raid her home.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas., called the raid “unprecedented.”

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel also released a statement asserting — without evidence — that the search was an attempt by Democrats to “weaponize the bureaucracy against Republicans.”

“Countless times we have examples of Democrats flouting the law and abusing power with no recourse. Democrats continually weaponize the bureaucracy against Republicans,” McDaniel said. “This raid is outrageous. This abuse of power must stop and the only way to do that is to elect Republicans in November.”

Midterm candidates also pounced on the news, calling for retaliation against the Justice Department, indicating a new wave of GOP lawmakers next year may be unforgiving over the raid.

“It’s time for us in the Florida Legislature to call an emergency legislative session & amend our laws regarding federal agencies. Sever all ties with DOJ immediately. Any FBI agent conducting law enforcement functions outside the purview of our State should be arrested upon sight,” tweeted Florida state Rep. Andrew Sabatini, who is running for the U.S. House.

“This is one of the darkest days in American history: the day our Government, originally created by the People, turned against us. This illegitimate, corrupt Regime hates America and has weaponized the entirety of the Federal Government to take down President Donald Trump,” said Kari Lake, the Trump-backed Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee. “As Governor, I will fight these Tyrants with every fiber of my being. America — dark days lie ahead for us. May God protest us and save our Country.”

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The backlash marks a departure from Republicans’ criticism of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential race while she was under FBI investigation into her handling of classified information.

That investigation centered around Clinton’s use of a personal email server for some communications during her time as secretary of state. Her personal server was ultimately found to contain more than 100 emails containing classified information. Clinton insisted that the use of the personal server was an honest mistake, and she was never charged with any criminal wrongdoing, though the cloud of the public investigation was thought by some Democrats at the time as contributing to her loss to Trump.

“Every investigation thus far makes one conclusion abundantly clear: Secretary Clinton’s fundamental lack of judgment and wanton disregard for protecting and keeping information confidential raises continued questions about the exposure of our nation’s diplomatic and national security secrets,” McCarthy said in a statement then.

“The FBI’s initial investigation made it clear that Secretary Clinton’s unlawful and extremely reckless handling of classified information continues to put America’s national security at risk. We are a nation of laws, and those laws should be applied equally to all Americans, regardless of their political connections,” Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., now the House minority whip, said in his own statement at the time.

Multiple sources confirmed to ABC News that Trump’s residence in Palm Beach, Florida, was searched by FBI agents on Monday, starting around 10 a.m. local time. The former president was not there.

Sources said the operation was related to the 15 boxes of documents that Trump took when he departed the White House, some of which the National Archives has said were marked classified. In January, Trump handed over the documents to the National Archives, and his attorneys said they were searching for any more records they may have.

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The former president issued a statement Monday evening, saying Mar-a-Lago “is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents.” He added: “They even broke into my safe!”

A police car is seen outside former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, Aug. 8, 2022. Trump said the residence was being “raided” by FBI agents in what he called an act of “prosecutorial misconduct.”

Giorgio Viera/AFP via Getty Images

Later Monday, during a planned tele-rally with Sarah Palin ahead of her upcoming special election in Alaska, Trump didn’t specifically mention the raid but appeared to briefly reference it when saying: “Another day in paradise. This is a strange day.”

Law enforcement sources told ABC News that the FBI’s activities at Trump’s compound are court-authorized.

The Justice Department and FBI declined to comment.

A senior official briefed on Monday’s events told ABC News that the Secret Service was notified by the FBI a short time before agents arrived that they would be coming. The Secret Service validated the search warrant and facilitated entry into the residence, in accordance with a court order, the official said. Secret Service agents were not involved in the search.

The Secret Service declined to comment.

A Biden administration official told ABC News that the White House received no advanced notice of the raid.

ABC News contributor and former federal prosecutor Kan Nawaday said the raid is “extraordinary” but not “that surprising.”

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen this,” Nawaday told ABC News Live Prime on Monday night. “At the same time, to me, it doesn’t seem that surprising, given all the evidence that the Jan. 6 committee has set forth about possible crimes relating to [the Capitol riot].”

“I think the indication is that it’s moving forward. They are taking active action and following the leads and following the evidence,” he added. “It’s only a matter of time, in my view, that they’re going to work up the chain to other potential targets.”

ABC News’ Tal Axelrod, Luke Barr, Libby Cathey, Jack Date, Chris Donovan, Katherine Faulders, Sarah Kolinovsky, Josh Margolin, Allison Pecorin, Olivia Rubin, John Santucci and Benjamin Siegel contributed to this report.



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