US lawmakers demanded more information about the potential national security threat posed by Donald Trump’s stockpile of classified documents, as the fallout from the unprecedented search of the former president’s home reverberated across Washington.
The comments from Democrats and Republicans on Sunday were among the first reactions from Congress to the release on Friday of the search warrant filed by the FBI on the day of the Aug. 8 visit, which revealed that Trump was being investigated for serious violations of the law. related to national defense, mishandling of government material and obstruction of justice.
They highlighted the stark partisan divide over Trump’s treatment by US law enforcement, with Democrats focused on the legal gravity of his behavior and Republicans skeptical and critical of the investigation.
Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, has asked the director of national intelligence to review the damage to American interests, formally known as a damage assessment, as a result of the Trump’s decision to keep a trove of sensitive material after leaving the country. The White House in early 2021.
“What is, to me, most disturbing here is the degree to which . . . there seems to be a will on the part of the president to keep these documents after the government demanded their return. And that it adds another layer of concern,” Schiff said.
Republicans, many of whom have rushed to Trump’s side and attacked the Justice Department, the FBI and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland over the past week, called on federal authorities to release the affidavit in support of search warrant. The affidavits, which usually remain secret during a federal investigation, contain details about why the DoJ asked a federal judge to approve the search.
“All Garland has to do is comply with the laws, give us that information and look at us. Show us the goods,” said Mike Turner, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. on CNN. “We have to determine, is this a threat to national security? And . . . Was there an abuse of discretion by Attorney General Garland?” he said.
“I think it’s very important in the long run for the justice department, now that they’ve done that, that they show that this wasn’t just a fishing expedition, that they had reason to come in and do this, that they did it. exhaust every other media. And if they can’t do that, then we’ve got a serious problem on our hands,” Senator Mike Rounds, Republican of South Dakota, told NBC.
Trump has maintained that the search was a political maneuver, claiming to have declassified all the material before leaving office, although there is no record of that step. According to the inventory of 45 items recovered by the FBI at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, authorities described 11 as top secret, secret, classified or confidential.
On Sunday, the former president said the boxes recovered by the FBI contained items protected by attorney-client privilege. “I respectfully request that these documents be immediately returned to the place from which they were taken,” he wrote on his Truth Social account.
Harsh criticism from the former president and his Republican allies has raised fears of violence against the FBI and DoJ. The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued a joint bulletin on Friday about the potential for attacks on law enforcement personnel and facilities across America as anger has flared among the conservative base of Trump supporters who already deeply distrust the federal government.
The White House has tried to distance itself from the search of Trump’s property and continued to do so on Sunday. Even when asked to comment on the latest revelations that the recovered Trump material could pose a national security risk, Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said: “We do not interfere. We don’t inform. We don’t get involved.”
But congressional Democrats were less moderate.
“When I look at classified documents, I have to go to a special room. I can’t even wear my Fitbit. You cannot take staff with you. And that’s because these documents not only contain our nation’s top secrets, but the countries that are going to hurt us, they’re going to hurt our own citizens, we don’t want them to get hold of them in any way,” said Amy Klobuchar, the El Democratic senator from Minnesota, told NBC.
“That’s why it’s so important that these documents are kept in safe places. And Mar-a-Lago, where you can see games of croquet and tennis rackets and golf clubs, this is not one of them,” he added.