Though most Republicans have expressed support for former President Donald Trump and his claims that the FBI’s search of his Mar-a-Lago home was unlawful and unprecedented, a few notables have been highly critical.
Among the Republicans who are defending the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI’s handling of the matter are political strategists Karl Rove, former Attorney General Bill Barr and Rep. Liz Cheney.
The Hill notes that newly unsealed records show that FBI agents found more than “100 classified documents” in Trump’s home as well as “dozens of empty folders marked as classified in Trump’s personal office.”
The Hill also notes that “Trump and his team have given conflicting defenses for how and why the classified documents ended up there.”
These GOP figures have knocked the former president over the revelations.
Last week, former Attorney General William Barr said the DOJ probably has “pretty good evidence” against the former President and that Trump “deceived” and “jerked around” the FBI — forcing the Aug. 8 search.
“I can’t think of a legitimate reason why they should have been, could be taken out of the government, away from the government, if they’re classified.”
Criticizing where the documents were kept, Barr said:
“I think the driver on this from the beginning was loads of classified information sitting in Mar-a-Lago. People say this was unprecedented. Well, it’s also unprecedented for a president to take all this classified information and put them in a country club.”
Trump responded on his Truth Social platforming, asserting that Barr was a “weak and pathetic RINO,” or Republican in name only.
Last month, former National Security Adviser John Bolton said Trump’s “varying explanations for and defenses of the documents found at his home show a real level of desperation.”
In an interview with CBS News, Bolton said Trump’s handling of the sensitive documents “shows a real disdain for the seriousness of the classification at issue.”
“This to me is more evidence that Donald Trump didn’t give much attention to the sensitivity of the classified information,” Bolton said.
Karl Rove, former senior political adviser to former President George W. Bush, asserted that Trump “had no legal authority” to remove classified documents from the White House.
In an interview with Fox News, Rove said: “Why he was holding on to these materials when he had no legal authority to do so under the Presidential Records Act is beyond me.”
Doubling down, Rove alleged that in keeping the documents, Trump stole “the property of the American people.”
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who recently lost her reelection bid to Trump-backed Harriet Hageman, rebuked Trump on Twitter, writing:
“Yet more indefensible conduct by Donald Trump revealed this morning,” as she reposted the now widely circulated photo of classified documents scattered about the floor of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
Trump alleges that the photos were staged.
On Sunday, former White House communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin also criticized Trump’s handling of classified material.
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Griffin said there are “very specific protocols” for how such documents should be handled, even for those within government.
Claiming that Trump had run afoul of the law, Griffin said: There is no way that this is acceptable if you don’t believe in a two-tiered system of justice where a former president is above the law.”
Griffin also floated the possibility that Trump may have taken the classified documents for later use as “leverage” to “help his future political ambitions.”
Trump seems committed to continuing pushing back and pressing on.
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