Former US President Trump has already freed himself from many a difficult situation with the help of his attack rhetoric. After the search of his estate by the FBI, many Republicans join his criticism of the investigative agency – and strengthen him in the party.
US Republicans express doubts about the work of the judiciary after the unprecedented search of the estate of former President Donald Trump. “Well, we have a number of concerns, one of which is whether the raid itself was justified or not,” Representative Mike Turner, who is a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said on US television. The Republican governor of the US state of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, claimed that the “establishment” was after Trump. The ex-president, meanwhile, accused the federal police FBI of taking documents that are subject to attorney-client privilege.
Trump wrote on the Truth Social platform he co-founded on Sunday that the federal police had “knowingly” taken material from his Mar-a-Lago estate that they should not have taken with them. He urged the FBI to return the documents immediately. According to the 76-year-old, these are documents that are confidential between the client and the lawyer. Trump had repeatedly railed against the judiciary and the federal police after the search on Monday.
Pence stands behind Trump
Many Republicans had rallied behind him – including even his former vice President Mike Pence, who had actually distanced himself from Trump recently. Republican Rep. Turner has now said that the FBI’s list of seized documents says nothing about the nature of the documents themselves. “We have this list from the FBI, but we don’t know exactly whether it’s classified material or not,” Turner said in an interview with CNN. The receipt shows that the material was marked as secret. But that does not mean that it is really secret at the moment. He did not provide any evidence of this. Asked if he was taking classified material home with him, he said: “No.”
According to the FBI list, the agents found last Monday in Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, among other documents-sets of the secrecy level “Top Secret / SCI”, which are top secret and may only be viewed in special government facilities. Four of the seized sets of documents were classified as “top secret”, three others as “secret”, the remaining three as “confidential”. The search warrant lists three criminal offences as a possible basis for any seizures – including the collection, transmission or loss of defence information. This falls under the US Espionage Act.
“One may wonder if this was the right move and if there are no less overarching means to achieve the same end,” Governor Hutchinson said. He urged the Justice Department to disclose more information. “The bigger picture is a crisis of legitimacy in this country. Liberals or progressives are of the opinion that Donald Trump is not a legitimate person, he was not a legitimate candidate and not a legitimate president, ” former Republican Minister William Bennett told Fox News. Senator Ted Cruz said Justice Merrick Garland had done “enormous damage” to the FBI’s credibility.
Trump followed up raid on security cameras
The “Washington Post” reported that during the search on Monday, Trump had already sat down with his lawyers in New York to talk about another case. However, the meeting was interrupted by a phone call in which the former president was informed about the events in Florida, the newspaper quoted Trump’s lawyer Ron Fischetti as saying. Trump and his team then followed the search through security cameras.
The White House, meanwhile, reiterated that it would not comment on the investigation. President Joe Biden has made it clear in the past that the Department of Justice is completely independent in law enforcement investigations, Biden’s spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said on US television. “This is a matter for law enforcement, and the Department of Justice will proceed as it sees fit.”
Last year, officials at the National Archives discovered that Trump had taken a whole bunch of documents and other government material with him when he left the White House at the end of his term in January 2021. According to the law, this material should actually have been given to the National Archives. Trump eventually turned over several documents to the agency earlier this year. But the officials had suspected that Trump or his team continued to withhold important documents, according to US media.