FBI agents organization defends work after search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago home - live updates




  • In Politics
  • 2022-08-09 15:00:11Z
  • By USA TODAY

The FBI search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, including the apparent search of a safe, drew wide reaction in Washington as Republicans criticize the agency.

Here's the latest on what we know:

  • Why did they search his home?: Two people familiar with the search told USA TODAY the action was connected to Trump's alleged removal of documents from the White House to his Mar-a-Lago property when his term in office was over.

  • What investigations involving Trump are there?: In February, the National Archives said it had contacted the Justice Department about Trump's removal of classified material from the White House. An Atlanta-area grand jury is hearing testimony in an investigation of whether Trump tried to meddle in the 2020 election. And the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot concluded its first round of hearings last month

  • Politically motivated?: As Republicans lobbed accusations that the FBI's search was an effort by President Joe Biden's administration to target a political opponent, the organization that represents FBI agents defended the agency's work.

  • Republicans vow to investigate: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and others in his caucus have vowed to investigate the Justice Department should Republicans win control of Congress in November.

  • No comment: The Justice Department has not commented on the search.

Maloney among Dems defending FBI search of Trump's home

As Donald Trump and Republicans blast the FBI for its search of his Mar-a-Lago home, Democrats defended the raid as an appropriate law enforcement action.

"Presidents have a solemn duty to protect America's national security, and allegations that former President Trump put our security at risk by mishandling classified information warrant the utmost scrutiny," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Maloney, whose committee is also investigating Trump's handling of classified information, said "it is clear that the Department of Justice must fully investigate President Trump's potentially grave mishandling of classified information."

- David Jackson

Former AG Gonzales: Search likely had approval from 'the highest level'

Alberto Gonzales, a former attorney general in the George W. Bush administration, believed that a law enforcement action of such magnitude would almost certainly have involved the sign-off of Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

"Unless there was a serious breakdown, I have to think that this was approved at the highest level," Gonzales said.

In order to proceed with the action, Gonzales said Justice Department officials would have to be "convinced that there was no other way" to obtain the information.

"It raises a number of questions that have to be considered: Why do you need to take the action? Why now? What has been done to obtain the information short of a search? Was there some kind of concern that documents would have been destroyed?"

- Kevin Johnson

Trump to dine with conservative House Republicans in New Jersey on Tuesday

Donald Trump will huddle with a group of House Republicans on Tuesday, a day after the FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida as part of an investigation into the handling of classified material.

Trump will dine with a dozen members of the House Republican Study Committee at his summer home in Bedminster, N.J., said an official familiar with the plan.

The dinner has been planned for weeks, but Trump is expected to discuss the various investigations of him, the official said.

The Republican Study Committee describes itself as "the conservative caucus of House Republicans," and says it has been "a leading influencer on the Right since its original founding in 1973." Under the chairmanship of Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., the RSC has been a major supporter of Trump.

While planning the meeting with Trump last month, Banks told Breitbart News that his committee "has visited with him many times before. We have a very close relationship with him, and the Republican Study Committee believes he's the most effective president in a lifetime or more."

- David Jackson

Pelosi weighs in on Mar-a-Lago search

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told NBC's "Today" on Tuesday that "no one is above the law," regarding FBI's search of former President Donald Trump's home.

"We believe in the rule of law. That's what our country is about," Pelosi said. "And no person is above the law. Not even the president of the United States. Not even a former president of the United States."

On House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's comments about the Mar-a-Lago search and "immediate oversight" of the Justice Department if Republicans win the House, Pelosi said, "whatever the leader is saying is probably idle."

- Merdie Nzanga

Supporters of former President Donald Trump rally near his home at Mar-A-Lago on August 8, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida.
Supporters of former President Donald Trump rally near his home at Mar-A-Lago on August 8, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida.  

FBI agents organization: Agents work with 'integrity and professionalism'

The organization that represents FBI agents on Tuesday defended the agency's work as former President Donald Trump and his allies derided the search of his Mar-a-Lago home as politically motivated.

"FBI Special Agents perform their investigative duties with integrity and professionalism, and remain focused on complying with the law and the Constitution," said Brian O'Hare, president of the FBI Agents Association, in a prepared statement.

O'Hare pointed out that all search warrants are issued by federal district court or magistrate judges and have to comply with detailed procedural rules. Agents also work with Justice Department attorneys on its search warrants, he said.

Under the law, any search would need to be authorized by a federal judge after finding probable cause that a crime had been committed and that evidence of the crime exists in the location to be searched.

Agents executed a search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday in what two people familiar with the search told USA TODAY was an action related to Trump's alleged removal of documents from the White House when his term ended in 2021.

What's happening at Mar-a-Lago ?: Was the FBI at Trump's home? Answers to your questions

Trump called the search a "weaponization of the Justice System" meant to hurt him politically, a refrain echoed by his Republican allies in the hours after the search became public.

"It is prosecutorial misconduct, the weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don't want me to run for President in 2024, especially based on recent polls, and who will likewise do anything to stop Republicans and Conservatives in the upcoming Midterm Elections," Trump said in a prepared statement.

- Rick Rouan

Watergate 'in reverse'?: Historians and legal analysts pan Trump's claims and point to legal peril ahead

Kevin McCarthy gives warning to DOJ, AG Merrick Garland

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Monday said the Justice Department had "reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization," and promised new investigations into the department if Republicans retake control of the House in the midterm election.

"Attorney General (Merrick) Garland, preserve your documents and clear your calendar," McCarthy tweeted.

Rep. Jim Jordan, Sen. Ted Cruz react

In an appearance on Fox News, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., should call Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray before the committee as soon as Friday to answer questions about the search.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said President Joe Biden's administration was using the department to target its political enemies. But the New York Times reported Monday that White House officials did not have advance notice of the search.

Reaction: Trump loyalists descend on Mar-a-Lago as news breaks of FBI search

Republican governors jump to Trump's defense

Republican governors also rushed to Trump's defense on Monday, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, widely seen as Trump's biggest competition for the 2024 presidential nomination.

"They've been after President Trump as a candidate, as President, and now as a former President," South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem tweeted. "Using the criminal justice system in this manner is un-American."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mar-a-Lago search: FBI agent organization defends work - live updates

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