Furor over the FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home raged through the weekend, with Democrats voicing alarm about possible security risks caused by his decision to stash classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate.
Republican leaders who had been defending Trump and criticizing the FBI, meanwhile, largely avoided the public spotlight.
Socialist firebrand Sen. Bernie Sanders called it “incomprehensible” that Trump took classified documents to Mar-a-Lago, but said that was par for the course.
“There’s something a little bit absurd when it appears that we have a former president who was taking highly classified documents to his own residence,” the Vermont independent said on ABC’s “Meet the Press.” “It’s just incomprehensible to me.
“But then again, when we talk about President Trump … there’s a lot of incomprehensible things.”
Intelligence agencies are reviewing potential national security risks created by Trump’s move to keep the classified documents in his home, Politico reported. The probe will focus on who might have had access to them without proper authorization.
The FBI’s Aug. 8 raid turned up 11 sets of documents, including ones designated “top secret.”
The unprecedented search of a former president’s home came after more than a year of efforts by the feds to get Trump to turn over the files.
On Friday, a judge released a redacted version of an affidavit that cited the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice and potential mishandling of government records as basis for the probe.
Some documents recovered earlier from Trump had mentioned “clandestine human sources” used in intelligence gathering and prompted the search of Mar-a-Lago for more files, the affidavit said.
“I am deeply alarmed by what we’re learning because it’s not only about whether or not Donald Trump broke the law, but it’s that he could be putting our national security at risk,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“He could be putting the lives of individual people who work for the United States at risk,” the Massachusetts Democrat said.
GOP leaders mostly skipped the weekly ritual of appearing on Sunday political talk shows to make their views known.
An exception was Sen. Roy Blunt, who offered muted criticism of Trump on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”
Trump “should have turned the documents over,” said the Missouri Republican. “I understand he turned over a lot of documents – he should have turned over all of them. I imagine he knows that very well now, as well.”
In the wake of the FBI search, several high-profile Republican officials castigated the federal law enforcement agency. Rep. Rick Scott of Florida compared the FBI to the Gestapo, the Nazi secret police, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia made calls to “defund” the agency.
Such statements reek of hypocrisy, said Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, noting the widespread GOP condemnation of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton when classified documents were found on her personal internet server.
“The hypocrisy of folks in my party that spent years chanting ‘Lock her up’ about Hillary Clinton because of some deleted emails … are now out there defending a man who very clearly did not take the national security of the United States to heart,” Kinzinger said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Many Republicans want Trump to run for president again.
About six in 10 Republicans said he should be their party’s nominee in the 2024 election, according to results of a USA Today/Ipsos survey released Sunday.
“Republicans are in real trouble because we have no leadership,” said Kinzinger, a strong Trump critic who is not running for re-election in the midterms. “We have no leaders. And no wonder our base basically believes everything Donald Trump says.”
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