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LOCALIZE IT: After Trump search, House Republicans lash out

The Independent logo The Independent 8/12/2022 Via AP news wire
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The Associated Press is offering video of these Republican Congress members responding to the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago estate:

— Rep. Mike Turner, Ohio

— Rep. Elise Stefanik, New York

— Rep. Trent Kelly, Mississippi

This video is available for use on your websites, broadcasts, social media platforms and elsewhere.

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Enraged over the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago estate, Republicans are lashing out at the federal law enforcement agency, seeking to sow distrust in its leadership.

At a news conference on Capitol Hill Friday, Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee demanded more oversight of the actions that led up to the search, with harsh criticism for the leadership of both the Department of Justice and the FBI.

Top Republican on the committee, Ohio Republican Mike Turner told reporters that while all GOP members are in “full support” of the rank and file at the FBI and DOJ, his group still had “serious questions” about the actions that led to the search at Mar-A-Largo.

New York Rep Rep. Elise Stefanik insisted there needed to be a “fulsome investigation to provide needed transparency and answers to the American people regarding Joe Biden and his administration’s weaponization of the Department of Justice and FBI.”

This comes as Trump calls for the “immediate” release of the federal warrant the FBI used to search his Florida estate, hours after the Justice Department had asked a court to unseal the warrant, with Attorney General Merrick Garland citing the “substantial public interest in this matter.”

In messages posted on his Truth Social platform, Trump wrote, “Not only will I not oppose the release of documents ... I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents.” He continued to assail the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago as “unAmerican, unwarranted and unnecessary.”

Trump has been provided at least some of the records the government was seeking to unseal, but he and his lawyers have declined, so far, to make them public.

It is unclear at this point how much information would be included in the documents, if made public, or if they would encompass an FBI affidavit that would presumably lay out a detailed factual basis for the search. The department specifically requested the unsealing of the warrant as well as a property receipt listing the items that were seized, along with two unspecified attachments.

In this case, according to a person familiar with the matter, there was substantial engagement with Trump and his representatives prior to the search warrant, including a subpoena for records and a visit to Mar-a-Lago a couple of months ago by FBI and Justice Department officials to assess how the documents were stored. The person was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Neither Trump nor the FBI has said anything about what documents the FBI might have recovered, or what precisely agents were looking for.

Responding to questions about unverified reports that the documents may have included information on nuclear weapons, Turner said there are a number of things “that fall under the umbrella of nuclear weapons, but that are not necessarily things that are truly classified.”

The Mar-a-Lago search warrant served Monday was part of an ongoing Justice Department investigation into the discovery of classified White House records recovered from Trump’s home in Palm Beach, Florida, earlier this year. The National Archives had asked the department to investigate after saying 15 boxes of records it retrieved from the estate included classified records. Multiple federal laws govern the handling of classified information.

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Localize It is an occasional feature produced by The Associated Press for its customers’ use. Questions can be directed to Katie Oyan at koyan@ap.org.

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