Republicans are beginning to take a variety of positions over the FBI’s Monday raid on President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
At a press conference held by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee on Friday, the divisions were on display.
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), a former FBI agent, and Ranking Member Mike Turner (R-Ohio) expressed displeasure with the FBI’s methods and demanded clarification from the Department of Justice regarding the justification for the search, arguing that oversight is essential to prevent the agency from becoming politicized.
Turner said, “We are really worried about the manner that was employed in invading Mar-a-Lago and the nine hours that occurred while they were in the president’s home. They had numerous other choices available to them.
Fitzpatrick advised the committee to consider “parity” in law enforcement.
“Sandy Berger, Hillary Clinton, and other cases involving national security information have been prevalent. When the situation calls for it, the public needs to be aware that the law is being applied equitably, Fitzpatrick said. The FBI’s ability to perform its duties is hampered by “perpetual distrust across a lot of these institutions,” he continued.
Others adopted a far more combative stance.
Republicans will look into President “Joe Biden and his administration’s weaponization of the Department of Justice against FBI against Joe Biden’s political opponent,” according to Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), chair of the House GOP Conference. She called it “brazen politicization” and stated that Trump is Biden’s “most likely political opponent in 2024.” “Garland declares publicly that no one is exempt from the law. I concur with that assertion. Nobody is. You too, Attorney General Garland, are a part of that. It also applies to you, Director Wray.
While the rank-and-file staff of the FBI and DOJ, according to Rep. Trent Kelly (R-Miss. ), are doing a “amazing job,” senior leadership at both agencies has become political, he claimed.
GOP mistrust of the FBI increased following the Monday search warrant execution at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, albeit it had already declined along with Trump’s ascent to power and his accusations of a “witch hunt” against him. Republicans like Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) have called for the FBI to be defunded or shut down.
Turner responded when questioned about the calls: “We support our men and women in uniform. We advise you to question anyone who has said something absurd like that, not us.
Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House Minority Leader from California, did not attend the presser.
He did not respond to a query about whether he had spoken to members about their criticisms of the agency at his own press conference with reporters. He declared, “I support police enforcement.”
The risks associated with widespread public mistrust of the institution were highlighted by an armed man who attempted to break into an FBI building in Cincinnati on Thursday. Republicans denounced the assault on and threats on law enforcement.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi condemned the irrational actions taken against the FBI (D-Calif.).
“You’d figure there’d be an adult in the Republican room telling them to calm down, wouldn’t you? Check the facts, then let’s move forward. Assaults on law officers should be avoided, Pelosi stated at a press conference on Friday.
McCarthy also questioned if the FBI’s pursuit of secret information at Mar-a-Lago warranted the necessity for a raid to obtain it.
The high degree of what people are talking about, McCarthy added, “seems very difficult for me to think whatever information the President had sitting in the Oval Office or anything else.”
Turner expressed his gratitude to Garland for starting the process of disclosing details about the search warrant used at Mar-a-Lago, but he added that even after the information is made public, there will still be many unanswered questions that can only be resolved by further disclosure of affidavits and other documents.
Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are requesting that the DOJ provide details on the affidavit that was used to support the search to the committee, but not necessarily to the general public. That material has not yet been made public by the DOJ.
Turner advised journalists not to believe claims that the FBI was looking for sensitive information related to nuclear capability and voiced uncertainty that, even if accurate, that would justify obtaining a search warrant rather than using the legal system to execute a subpoena or other measures.
“It would be very, very narrow of anything that would rise to the level of an emergency national security concern,” Turner said. “Just having the umbrella of nuclear weapons in it.” It would be quite uncommon for the President to have something in the Oval Office that constitutes a serious and immediate threat to national security.
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