Congressional Republicans fumed Tuesday in reaction to former President Donald Trump’s statement late Monday that the FBI had executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, his home in Palm Beach, Florida.
Democrats didn’t have much to say on Tuesday about apparent research, although some advocated the execution of justice regardless of a person’s political power. Massive research publicity rivaled the celebration of Democrats when President Joe Biden at the White House signed into law major legislation aimed at improving semiconductor manufacturing.
A White House official said the White House had “not been notified of the reported action” and referred to the Justice Department for further information.
Trump’s GOP allies questioned the caution of the research, which the FBI and Justice Department had not confirmed as of Tuesday afternoon. Trump did not release a copy of a search warrant, although he reportedly received one when the search began.
“These are dark times for our nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently besieged, raided and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” Trump said Monday in a statement.
The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment. But the news citing people familiar with the search said a federal judge would have authorized it in a warrant indicating probable cause that a crime had been committed, and that evidence would be found at the residence.
Senator Bill Hagerty of Tennessee raised the specter of former President Bill Clinton, who left office nearly 22 years ago, wondering why the FBI didn’t search Clinton’s home but Trump’s.
Calls for Garland’s impeachment
Trump and Republican officials aligned with him have speculated the action was an act of political persecution aimed at Biden’s rival in the 2020 — and possibly 2024 — election, with some going so far as to demand that the Attorney General Merrick Garland be removed over this.
“Joe Biden’s FBI raid on the home of a former president who is also Biden’s main political opponent is an unprecedented attack on democratic standards and the rule of law. Biden has dragged our republic into dangerous waters” , said US Senator Josh Hawley. tweeted.
“At a minimum, Garland must resign or be impeached,” the Missouri Republican added. “The search warrant must be published. [FBI Director Christopher] Wray should be removed. And the FBI has reformed from top to bottom.
Hawley tied himself closely to the former president’s debunked claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him and raised his fist in solidarity with pro-Trump protesters hours before they were to charge the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
But even U.S. Representative Peter Meijer, a Michigan Republican who voted to impeach the former president in 2021 and lost his primary last week to a Trump-backed challenger, has called for responses from the Justice Department.
“Last night’s execution of an FBI search warrant at Mar-a-Lago raises serious questions of propriety and politicization,” Meijer said in a tweet. “Allegations of criminal activity by current/former presidents require FBI and DOJ handling beyond reproach. Anything less is dangerous and wrong.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California promised to investigate the inquiry into whether Republicans take control of the chamber in the November election.
“The Justice Department has reached an intolerable state of militarized politicization,” McCarthy said. “When the Republicans take over the House, we will conduct immediate oversight of this department…Attorney General Garland, save your paperwork and clean up your calendar.”
U.S. Senator Rick Scott, a former governor of Florida who leads the Republicans’ campaign arm of the Senate, also called for a rigorous investigation and possible impeachment of Garland.
While Garland and Wray didn’t make public statements explaining the raid on Tuesday, they “no longer deserve to stay in the job,” he said in a statement.
“When Republicans regain a majority in the Senate, there will be a thorough and aggressive investigation,” he said. “Everything must be on the table for AG Garland, including impeachment.”
Trump Vice President Mike Pence noted that the search was the first from a former president in US history that fueled concerns about the FBI’s political motives.
“The Justice Department’s appearance of continued partisanship needs to be addressed,” Pence said. tweeted Tuesday. “Yesterday’s action undermines public confidence in our justice system and Attorney General Garland must account to the American people for why this action was taken and he must do so immediately.”
Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn called the FBI’s search a “witch hunt” in one Tweeter : “Why are the FBI and DOJ refusing to comment after a raid on the private home of a former US president? The American people demand transparency – they don’t want another political witch hunt against President Trump.
Senator Bill Hagerty of Tennessee accused the FBI to give former President Bill Clinton, who left office 22 years ago, special treatment over Trump.
Trump is being investigated by a Georgian grand jury for his possible role in trying to overturn the election. The House committee investigating Jan. 6 also focused its investigation on Trump’s conduct, and the panel is reportedly considering a criminal referral to the Justice Department.
But there is no indication that Monday’s search was part of investigations into Trump’s electoral conduct.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speculated it had to do with records from when Trump was in office. The Archivist of America reported in a February 2022 letter that Trump kept 15 boxes of presidential records — including classified documents — at his Palm Beach residence.
Pelosi, a California Democrat, said in an interview with the Today Show on Tuesday morning that she had no prior knowledge of the research and would reserve judgment until DOJ officials say more.
“I’m sure that information will come to light and when it does, we’ll find out what they were looking for,” she told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie.
“It seems to have something to do with presidential documents, but I’m really not in a position to comment on that because all I know is what’s in the public domain.”
Trump should face the same criminal investigation as any other citizen, Pelosi added, and his former office should not grant him immunity from prosecution.
“We believe in the rule of law,” she said. “No one is above the law.”
‘Yesterday’s search for Mar-A-Lago reinforced a fundamental pillar of American democracy – no one is above the law, not even the former President of the United States,’ the US Rep said. Charlie Crist, a Democrat from Florida who is running for governor.
A spokesperson for the House Jan. 6 committee — led by Mississippi Democrat Bennie G. Thompson — declined to comment on Tuesday, as did a spokeswoman for Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois.
Representatives of the House Judiciary Committee did not return a message Tuesday.