Justice Department under pressure to explain raid on Donald Trump’s estate

Justice Department under pressure to explain raid on Donald Trump’s estate

The US Justice Department is under pressure to provide a fuller explanation of the FBI’s search of Donald Trump’s Florida estate after an unprecedented raid on the former US president’s home sparked howls of outrage from Republicans.

As of Tuesday evening, the Justice Department and the FBI had yet to comment Mar-a-Lago search, which she carried out the day before, as Trump described a “large group” of federal agents. FBI searches must be approved by a federal judge.

More details emerged throughout the day about the focus of the raid. People close to Trump have confirmed that it is an investigation into the former president’s handling of classified documents and presidential records found at Mar-a-Lago after he left the White House, and that the FBI walked away with new material found during the search.

The investigation into Trump’s possession of boxes of sensitive documents has already fueled talks between federal officials and Trump’s lawyers in recent months. His co-workers insisted that he had been lenient all along.

“President Trump, as well as his legal team, have been more than accommodating and allowed them access to whatever they wanted in the past,” Christina Bobb, Trump’s lawyer who was present during the raid, told OAN, a conservative news network. , on Tuesday.

“It’s just weird power bending. . . and I don’t think the American people like that. I don’t think it was necessary. And that’s just Gestapo-style, you know, oppressing your political opponent,” she added.

The move drew backlash from Republicans, who portrayed it as a politically motivated attack on someone who has repeatedly raised the prospect of trying to win back the White House in 2024.

Mike Pence, Trump’s former vice president, said he shared the “deep concern of millions of Americans” about the search, and Attorney General Merrick Garland “must give a full accounting to the American people as to why this action was taken, and he must do it now.”

Mike Turner, the top-ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, released a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray calling for an “immediate briefing” on the search.

“In the history of our country, this action is unprecedented. . . Congress deserves immediate responses from you regarding the actions you have ordered,” Turner wrote.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham described it as “a dangerous moment for the American Constitution.”

“Pressure on DoJ from liberals to win Trump was relentless. . . Remember, they’ve been trying to get at Trump since he came down the escalator,” Graham added, referring to Trump’s 2016 campaign announcement. Justice Department and FBI officials rarely comment on ongoing investigations before any charges are filed.

Asked about the raid on Tuesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the administration was not forewarned of the FBI raid and only learned about it from public reports.

“We found out just like the American public did yesterday, and we were not notified in advance of this activity,” she said. “President [Joe] Biden was very clear before he was elected president and throughout his time in office that the Justice Department conducts its investigations independently.”

After the raid, Republican candidates sent fundraising emails to supporters citing the FBI’s search, a sign they hoped they could use the raid to rally the party’s base before mid-term elections where Democrats are widely predicted to lose their razor-thin majority in the House.

Mehmet Oz, a Republican Senate candidate in Pennsylvania endorsed by the former president, wrote on Twitter: “America is bitterly divided, and what President Biden’s FBI and DoJ did last night will only make things worse.”

Trump’s enduring hold on the Republican Party’s conservative base was underscored again Tuesday night when Tim Michels, the candidate he endorsed in the Republican primary for governor of Wisconsin, defeated establishment favorite Rebecca Kleefisch in a tight race.

Criticism of the raid was not limited to the Republican Party, with Democrats also calling on the DoJ to provide more clarity. Others have warned that if the search is conducted in connection with an investigation into the preservation of presidential records — rather than a more serious matter — it could jeopardize future investigations and strengthen Trump politically.

Andrew Cuomo, the former governor of New York who was forced to resign after a wave of sexual harassment allegations, called on the Justice Department to “immediately explain the reason for its raid.”

He added that if the raid was only about “searching for non-essential archives”, it would “be seen as a political tactic and undermine any future credible investigation”.

Andrew Yang, a former Democratic presidential candidate, said on Twitter: “Document mishandling does not appear to be raid material. However, it looks like great campaign material for Trump.”

In a separate blow to Trump, a D.C. appeals court ruled Tuesday that Congress has the right to subpoena the former president’s tax returns — something the left has long fought for.

The Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee said it expects to get immediate access to the reports and begin its oversight of the Internal Revenue Service’s mandatory presidential audit program.

The Mar-a-Lago raid threatens to overshadow what has been shaping up to be one of the most positive parts of the Biden presidency. News of the search broke while he was celebrating a string of legislative victoriesand on top of that is the passage of a major tax-and-spend bill through the Senate over the weekend.

Democrats are hoping to shore up their voter base after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade precedent establishing a federal constitutional right to abortion.

Democratic leaders were reluctant to discuss the FBI search Tuesday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she expected authorities to have a “justification,” but said she had no further information about the raid. Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Democratic Senate, declined to comment on the search.

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