Texas Republicans have exploded with outrage at Monday’s news that the FBI searched the Mar-a-Lago home of former President Donald Trump.
Agents were looking for classified documents that the former president is accused of unlawfully removing from the White House, Trump’s son said in a Fox News interview. The former president wrote online that agents broke into his safe.
Abbott was one of many Texas lawmakers who quickly branded the raid as political and claimed President Joe Biden is attempting to use police powers to tarnish a political rival. For example: U.S. Rep. Michael Cloud, from Corpus Christi, said Biden has politicized the justice department in other ways, such as investigating extremism at local school board meetings, declining to prosecute abortion activists and ignoring accusations against his son, Hunter Biden.
“They’re fully committed to weaponizing the DOJ to try anything to stop Donald Trump because they know he will hold them accountable,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote. “Biden’s decision to wield the FBI against Trump is a brazen & ill-fated attempt to distract from his own failures.”
While Democratic lawmakers in Texas said little about the Trump case on Tuesday, their followers questioned the sincerity of Republican outrage, pointing years of “lock her up” chants at Trump rallies that targeted his former opponent, Hillary Clinton. Clinton was investigated by the FBI for using her personal email account to handle classified information. She was never charged and ultimately a State Department probe found that while information had been improperly handled, it had not been done in a criminal manner.
Many Democrats also pointed out that the director of the FBI is Christopher Wray, appointed by Trump in 2017.
There are several concurrent federal and state investigations into Trump. State investigations include into his business practices in New York and alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia. Federal probes include one into his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, and a separate inquiry that originated with the National Archives, which went to the Department of Justice after Trump delayed returning 15 boxes of presidential records, including classified material.
Little information is available about the focus of Monday’s raid. A federal judge based in Florida approved the FBI search. Senior White House officials told national reporters that they did not have foreknowledge of it.
Said Sen. Ted Cruz, on Twitter: “The FBI raiding Donald Trump is unprecedented. It is corrupt & an abuse of power. What Nixon tried to do, Biden has now implemented: The Biden Admin has fully weaponized DOJ & FBI to target their political enemies.” Cruz called for congressional investigations and said Biden is behaving like a “tin-pot dictator.”
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who served in Trump’s cabinet, also warned federal officials on Twitter: “The FBI better have had a really good reason to search Trump’s property. If they do not actually have the goods, this will make a political system already suffering stress much more unstable and should be alarming to anybody — no matter their personal feelings towards #Trump.”
Although Democrats currently hold a narrow majority in the U.S. House, Republicans see an advantage in national polling and appear to be in a strong position to retake the majority.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the GOP leader in the House, wrote if that does happen, he intends to pursue “immediate oversight of (the Department of Justice), follow the facts, and leave no stone unturned.”
“Attorney General Garland, preserve your documents and clear your calendar.”