Lawmakers condemn Trump, GOP attacks on FBI after Mar-a-Lago search




  • In US
  • 2022-08-14 20:06:01Z
  • By The Hill
 

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle urged their colleagues on Sunday to tamp down recent attacks levied against the FBI following its search of former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate.

Trump allies have portrayed the unprecedented search - which included the seizure of 11 sets of classified documents as part of the agency's investigation into whether Trump violated the Espionage Act and other federal statutes - as evidence the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) have been weaponized by the Biden administration.

Some Republicans have called for the FBI to be defunded while others have broadcast the notion that agents could come after all Americans - including showing up in their living rooms.

Both Democrats and Republicans took to the Sunday political shows to denounce attacks on the agency, which is reporting an increase in threats to law enforcement agents following the search.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) during an interview with Andrea Mitchell on NBC's "Meet the Press,"  explicitly tied an attempted breach of the FBI's Cincinnati, Ohio field office on Thursday to recent GOP rhetoric.

The suspect, who was shot and killed by police, was believed to be in Washington, D.C. during the lead up to the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

"[These are] the kind of things that result when you've got a president that attacks law enforcement and attacks the law," said Klobuchar.

"I thought in the old days the Republican Party used to stand with law enforcement," she added. "And I hope some of them do today because this kind of rhetoric is very dangerous to our country. These are career men and women that are simply doing their job."

A new intelligence bulletin warned of a spike in threats to federal law enforcement following the Mar-a-Lago search, referencing the Cincinnati incident, multiple outlets reported.

On CBS's "Face the Nation," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) echoed Klobuchar's concerns.

"The reaction of many of my Republican colleagues and those around the former president to attack the FBI over this and endanger FBI agents is just another damaging level of irresponsibility," Schiff told moderator Margaret Brennan.

Trump himself has repeatedly attacked the FBI since the search, also suggesting an unproven conspiracy that the agency was planting evidence to hurt him politically. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on Friday announced she introduced articles of impeachment against Attorney General Merrick Garland, who said he personally approved of the search.

But others in the GOP pushed back against those attacks on Sunday even as they pressed for more information from the FBI and DOJ.

"The FBI is simply carrying out their responsibilities under the law, a lawful search warrant that a magistrate signed off on," said Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on CNN's "State of the Union."

"And they didn't go in there with FBI raid jackets," he added. "They tried to constrain their behavior carrying out that warrant."

Hutchinson provided some defense of members of his party in criticizing the FBI, saying they "see the establishment is going after Donald Trump" and have unanswered questions, but he called on fellow Republicans to "stand with" law enforcement.

"If the GOP is going to be the party of supporting law enforcement, law enforcement includes the FBI," he said on CNN.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who like Hutchinson has not shied away from criticizing Trump, similarly on Sunday separated himself from the heated rhetoric from some in the GOP.

"The one side is gonna say that this is just politically motivated and weaponization of the Justice Department, but … they have probable cause to come after him for things that could be really important," Hogan said on ABC's "This Week."

But Hogan told moderator Jonathan Karl that the search has motivated Trump's base, who still has "a lot of unanswered questions."

"I was not one of the people that was just reacting, just defending Donald Trump, but I understood that, without anyone understanding what this was about, that it was going to and could lead to even further division and angry rhetoric from both sides," Hogan said on ABC.

Brennan on "Face the Nation" directly asked Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, to respond to Trump's rhetoric.

"I think it's inflammatory," said McCaul. "I don't want to put any law enforcement in the bullseye of a potential threat. And that's someone who's worked with law enforcement most of my career."

Also on CBS, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), a former FBI agent who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, urged his colleagues to "reserve judgment" on the search and "understand the weight of their words."

But he described the recent rhetoric as the latest example fueling violent acts, pointing to the 2017 shooting at a Republican practice for the annual Congressional Baseball Game and a man who was arrested in June after allegedly attempting to murder Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the lead up to the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade.

"We've seen disrespect across the political spectrum, Margaret, which I mentioned, with local law enforcement, with the Supreme Court and now federal law enforcement," Fitzpatrick said on CBS. "None of it is okay. None of it."

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.

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