Top congressional Republicans are rushing to former President Donald Trump’s defense after the FBI executed a search warrant at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida as part of an investigation into the handling of potentially classified material.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Attorney General Merrick Garland to “preserve your documents and clear your calendar,” warning of an oversight probe “when” Republicans take back the chamber in the midterm elections.
“The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization,” said McCarthy.
House Republicans briefly discussed the FBI search during a conference call on Tuesday, multiple sources tell CNN. Top Republicans made clear that they want to get answers and a full accounting from the Justice Department.
The call had been previously scheduled in order to discuss the Inflation Reduction Act that’s coming to the House floor Friday.
But at the top of the call, McCarthy kicked things off then turned things over to Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Mike Turner, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.
They repeated their demands for accountability, but did not signal what their specific oversight plans will be if they win the majority.
Trump is also set to meet Tuesday with about a dozen members of the House Republican Study Committee, led by Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, at his residence in Bedminster, New Jersey, according to a person familiar with their plans, providing a timely opportunity for the former president to rally members to his side after the FBI search.
A July CNN poll found that a majority of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters do not want Trump to be their party’s nominee in the 2024 presidential election. But the former president still is powerful within the party; Republican candidates across the country have sought his endorsement in their 2022 primaries, and on Saturday, Trump overwhelmingly won an unofficial straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Texas.
Rallying around Trump, many Republicans, including Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, attacked Democrats instead after news of the FBI search, with some saying that Biden himself must be investigated.
“There must be an immediate investigation and accountability into Joe Biden and his Administration’s weaponizing this department against their political opponents — the likely 2024 Republican candidate for President of the United States,” said New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, a member of House GOP leadership.
Turner, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, requested an “immediate briefing” from FBI Director Christopher Wray, saying the agency’s action was “unprecedented” and that he was “unaware of any actual or alleged national security threat” posed by materials in Trump’s possession.