Republican Officials React With Fury to F.B.I. Search of Trump’s Home

1 month ago 19

U.S.|Republican officials reacted with fury to news of the search.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/08/us/trump-fbi-right-reaction.html

Aug. 8, 2022, 10:54 p.m. ET

Aug. 8, 2022, 10:54 p.m. ET

Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, said “The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization.”
Credit...Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times

Top Republicans and prominent conservatives reacted with outrage on Monday night to the news that the F.B.I. had searched the private residence of former President Donald J. Trump, with some suggesting that federal agents should be arrested and others hinting that the court-approved law-enforcement action against Mr. Trump was pushing the country toward political chaos.

“I’ve seen enough,” Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, wrote in a statement that he posted online. “The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization.”

Hinting at a possible congressional investigation into the sitting attorney general if Republicans take control of the House in the midterm elections, Mr. McCarthy added, “Attorney General Garland, preserve your documents and clear your calendar.”

The attacks on the search of Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s beachfront domain in southern Florida, continued a longstanding reflex among his supporters to assail federal law-enforcement officials as biased and corrupt.

Mr. Trump and his allies have relentlessly disparaged the F.B.I. for taking the lead in the investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. And more recently, the former president’s allies in Congress and the media have sought to deflect blame from him by baselessly depicting the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol as a “false flag” operation run by the bureau and abetted by the Justice Department.

One of the most strident attacks on federal law-enforcement on Monday night came from the Florida state lawmaker Anthony Sabatini, who is running for Congress as a Republican in a district near Orlando.

“It’s time for us in the Florida Legislature to call an emergency legislative session & amend our laws regarding federal agencies,” Mr. Sabatini wrote on Twitter. “Sever all ties with DOJ immediately. Any FBI agent conducting law enforcement functions outside the purview of our State should be arrested upon sight.”

In a post last week, Ric Grenell, who served as Mr. Trump’s acting director of national intelligence, said that if the former president were to be re-elected, he must “clean out the FBI and DOJ.”

The Republican response to the search also sought to instill fear in ordinary people by suggesting that they too could be targeted by federal agents.

“If they can do it to a former President, imagine what they can do to you,” the Twitter account for the House Republican caucus wrote.

On Fox News, the host Jesse Watters described the search of Mr. Trump’s property as “insane” and called for Christopher A. Wray, the director of the F.B.I., to be fired for being “corrupt.”

Other right-wing pundits took an even darker view, hinting that the search of Mar-a-Lago could lead to unrest in the streets.

“There is suddenly a very real risk of violent political instability in this country for the first time in more than 150 years,” Joel B. Pollak, a senior editor at the right-wing outlet Breitbart News, wrote on Twitter.

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