The House GOP denounced the FBI’s search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home Monday night, with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy vowing to investigate the Justice Department should Republicans retake the chamber this fall.
“I’ve seen enough,” McCarthy tweeted hours after Trump confirmed federal agents searched his Florida resort. In his remarks regarding the raid, the California Republican and frontrunner for speaker next year used the same term as the former president – “weaponization” – to describe DOJ’s actions, telling him to “preserve your documents and clear your calendar.”
A long line of House conservatives took to social media to condemn the FBI search, most of them stalwart allies of Trump. While some Senate Republicans are edging away from Trump in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, House Republicans continue to embrace him.
In his campaign for the majority whip role, if Republicans flip the House this fall, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) quickly sought to paint the search as political.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who will lead the Judiciary panel chair in a House GOP majority, and Banks are McCarthy allies and Trump supporters dating back to the former president’s first impeachment. The Twitter account linked to Jordan hit similar pro-Trump talking points, including anti-FBI sentiment that has flared among Trump supporters since the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
In addition to equating the Mar-a-Lago search with harassment of everyday citizens in Third World countries, the House Judiciary Committee GOP’s account repeated Trump’s claim: “The FBI knowingly deceived Americans about Russian’ collusion” ‘for YEARS. Can’t trust them.”
Two people familiar with the investigation say law enforcement activity at Mar-a-Lago stems from allegations that presidential records, including some that could contain classified information, were removed from the White House by Trump allies after the former president left office. However, it is unclear what kind of documents the government seized during the raid.
While far less closely aligned with McCarthy and party leadership, pro-Trump members of the House Freedom Caucus pushed for congressional oversight of the FBI’s search. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), the former head of the group, called for an investigation into how federal law enforcement agencies abuse their authority.
Furthermore, Biggs compared the Mar-a-Lago search to Muammar Qadhafi’s death at the hands of his political enemies. According to the Arizonan, the only thing missing from the unprecedented FBI raid at President Trump’s home are Muammar Gaddafi’s sunglasses and cap on Joe Biden.
The Republican rank and file members are likely to face further questions about the Mar-a-Lago raid when they return to Washington for a vote on Democrats’ party-line climate, tax, and health care legislation on Friday.
Although some senior Republicans privately dismissed conservatives’ calls for an investigation, stating that they needed to see proof the search was a stunt and not a follow-the-books operation, McCarthy’s tweet Tuesday night raises the entire conference’s political stakes significantly.
Former Freedom Caucus member turned potential Trump 2024 presidential primary rival even weighed in. According to Ron DeSantis, the Mar-a-Lago search is similar to a Third World search. He said it was another step in the weaponization of federal agencies against political opponents of the Regime and poked fun at Democrats who want to increase IRS enforcement to pay for their domestic agenda.
“Banana Republic,” he tweeted.