House Republicans on Friday wasted no time rallying behind former President Trump following a court’s decision to unseal the search warrant that had empowered the FBI to search his Mar-a-Lago residence in South Florida earlier in the week.
The newly public warrant revealed that the Department of Justice had suspected Trump of violating the Espionage Act, among other federal statutes, when he stockpiled reams of documents at Mar-a-Lago after he left office last year.
FBI agents on Monday retrieved 11 sets of documents categorized as classified to some degree, an inventory of the items seized showed, including one set labeled “various classified/TS/SCI documents,” a highly-classified category of sensitive items typically pertaining to national security. Agents also retrieved four sets of “top secret” items.
But Republican lawmakers on Friday dismissed the news, accusing the Department of Justice (DOJ) of conducting a political witch hunt designed for the sole purpose of harming Trump politically as he weighs another run at the White House in 2024.
“What they’ve been doing to President Trump is a political persecution,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) told reporters on the steps of the Capitol. “Merrick Garland has abused his position of power, as the attorney general, to politically persecute Joe Biden’s enemies. And the whole purpose of this is to prevent President Trump from ever being able to hold office.”
“We cannot tolerate this in America,” she continued, “where our great institutions are wielded and abused in such a way to defeat people’s political enemies.”
Greene then walked into the Capitol and introduced articles of impeachment against Garland.
She was hardly alone. Other GOP lawmakers also defended Trump against a DOJ they’re portraying as out of control. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), another close Trump ally, wondered why the department isn’t continuing its investigation into Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of State, who came under scrutiny for using a private server to conduct official business, but was never charged.
“Did they find Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 deleted emails in the safe? That’s what I want to see,” said Boebert, who also endorsed the effort to impeach Garland.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, didn’t go quite so far, but accused Garland of withholding information vital to the public’s understanding of the investigation.
“The fact that Merrick Garland is selectively working through the media rather than releasing further details, is again – makes all of this very fishy,” he said. “There’s so much that the American people deserve to know that we don’t know.”
Other Republicans brought up various DOJ investigations of the past, suggesting the department goes soft on Democrats and their allies while dropping the hammer on Republicans and other conservatives.
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