Days after Trump’s home was raided on August 8, a man who posted regularly on his social media site attempted to break into the FBI’s field office in Cincinnati, Ohio, armed with an AR-style rifle. 15 and a nail gun. He fled the scene before being killed in a standoff. The episode was referenced in the bulletin.
Pro-Trump Internet Forums erupted with violent threats in the days following the FBI search. Meanwhile, conservative media has released the names of the two officers who signed the documents authorizing a search warrant at Trump’s estate. And the biographical information of the federal magistrate judge who signed the search warrant had to be removed from a Florida court’s website due to threats.
Some members of the Republican Party have expressed concern about the inflammatory rhetoric coming from other GOP members and its potential to lead to violence. Representatives Paul Gosar (R-Arizona), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) are among those who have spoken of destroying or defunding the FBI.
“That’s outrageous rhetoric,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday.
“It is absurd and dangerous. There are threats everywhere, and losing faith in our federal law enforcement officers and our justice system is a very serious problem for the country,” said Hogan, whose father was an FBI agent, while like other members of his family.
Hogan’s comments were echoed by Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, a Republican.
“The GOP will be the party that supports law enforcement — law enforcement includes the FBI,” Hutchinson said on CNN. “We have to stop passing judgment on them.”
Other Republicans elected Sunday put the onus on Attorney General Merrick Garland to justify the need for the search of Trump’s residence last week.
“He has a lot of questions to answer,” Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
The Attorney General has come under intense scrutiny after “personally approved“Using a search warrant for government documents located in Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. The former president claims to have declassified all files before leaving office.
Many Republican leaders immediately attacked the search when it took place last Monday, but some have since softened their criticisms, particularly those like Turner, who have expressed concern over the potential presence of classified documents.
The first bipartisan request for information regarding the FBI search came Sunday from the Senate Intelligence Committee, whose leaders, Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Ranking Member Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), sent a private letter to Garland and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines. Warner and Rubio asked the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to give the committee access to classified documents that were seized during the Mar-a-Lago search, according to a spokesperson. The committee also called for “an assessment of potential national security risks due to their mismanagement,” the spokesperson added.
GOP moderates, meanwhile, criticized fellow Republicans for harsh rhetoric directed at the FBI and other law enforcement officials.
“I’m not one of the people who say that, you know, ‘immediately attack the FBI or the Department of Justice,'” Sen. Mike Rounds (RS.D.) said Sunday on “Meet the Press.” “I think it’s very important that you give them the opportunity to state their case. But I think it’s very important in the long run for the Department of Justice – now that they’ve done this – that they show that it was not just a fishing expedition.
For his part, on Sunday morning, Trump claimed on Truth Social that some of the information seized by authorities contained material covered by solicitor-client privilege and professional secrecy.
“By copy of this TRUTH, I respectfully request that these documents be immediately returned to where they were taken from,” he posted.
Some Congressional Republicans ranks quickly closed around Trump – who raised money from the developments – in the days after the research was released, with some alleging Garland and the Biden administration were trying to harm a political rival.
“Nobody is above the law. Donald Trump is not above the law and Attorney General Garland is not above the law either,” Turner said.
The White House and top Biden administration officials have been adamant that Garland and the Justice Department acted independently in their decision to investigate Trump’s ownership.
“We learned this the same way the American people learned it,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on ABC’s “This Week” program on Sunday. She added that President Joe Biden was not briefed on the FBI investigation.
The Ministry of Justice parts released from materials related to the search in the days after the warrant was executed, revealing investigators are investigating whether the former president violated the Espionage Act or possibly obstructed justice in his handling of sensitive documents – including those marked with the highest level of government classification.
However, a growing chorus of Republicans has called on the Justice Department to release more information, particularly the affidavit filed in support of the search warrant request approved by a federal magistrate judge.
“This was an unprecedented action that must be backed by an unprecedented rationale,” Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “It’s an open question, and we know where to look: the Probable Cause Affidavit.”
The best Democrats in the House have called for an examination whether storing these records outside the auspices of the government would endanger national security. Turner and other Republicans have demanded that they be given more information about the records to assess whether the search itself was justified.
“These are materials that are two years old,” Turner said. “We don’t know what they are. We do not know if they reach the national security threat level.
Andrew Desiderio contributed to this report.