Miami/Washington, Aug 9 (EFE).- The FBI’s search of Donald Trump’s lavish estate in Florida has roiled the political scene in the United States, with Americans eager for further details about the investigation and the potential consequences for the former president.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation still has not revealed why it sent agents on Monday to search Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club and residence in Palm Beach, Florida.
US media reports, however, indicate it was connected to a probe for presidential records – including classified documents – the ex-head of state improperly took from the White House.
By law, those records must be sent to the National Archives when a president leaves office. Federal agents had earlier visited Mar-a-Lago in the spring to discuss those materials.
While awaiting details or an official explanation, numerous top GOP office-holders and the Republican National Committee railed Tuesday against the FBI action and accused Democrats of abuse of power.
Democrats, for their part, noted that the search was carried out pursuant to a warrant signed by a judge.
The White House said President Joe Biden had no prior knowledge of the search and learned about it through the media, adding that the Justice Department conducts its investigations independently.
Although Biden did not speak directly about Trump during his public appearances on Tuesday, he seemed to refer to the ex-president in the morning when he criticized those “who seek division instead of strength and unity, who tear down rather than build up.”
After the unprecedented search of an ex-president’s home for official documents, many Republican leaders expressed their indignation and their support for Trump, who for his part has sought to capitalize on anger within the GOP ranks to step up his fundraising for a potential 2024 re-election bid.
“The lawlessness, political persecution, and Witch Hunt, must be exposed and stopped,” read an email sent out Tuesday by Trump’s Save America political action committee. “Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before.”
“As they watch my endorsed candidates win big victories and see my dominance in all polls, they are trying to stop the Republican Party and me once more,” added Trump, who was not present during Monday’s search.
As they did on Monday night, Trump’s supporters gathered Tuesday morning near Mar-a-Lago and held up signs to express their rejection of the FBI’s move.
Many echoed the words of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in asking why no similar probe has been carried out of the current president’s son, Hunter Biden, whom Republicans accuse of corruption.
“The raid of MAL (Mar-a-Lago) is another escalation in the weaponization of federal agencies against the Regime’s political opponents, while people like Hunter Biden get treated with kid gloves,” DeSantis, a political ally of Trump’s and a potential rival for the Republican nomination in 2024, tweeted. “Now the Regime is getting another 87k IRS agents to wield against its adversaries? Banana Republic.”
The minority leader of the US House of Representatives, Republican Kevin McCarthy, also expressed outrage at the Mar-a-Lago search on Monday evening, saying in a statement posted to Twitter on Monday that the Justice Department had reached “an intolerable state of weaponized politicization” and vowing to investigate its activities after the November 2022 midterms.
“When Republicans take back the House, we will conduct immediate oversight of this department, follow the facts, and leave no stone unturned,” he added.
On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a leading Democrat, told news channel MSNBC that she does not have access to any information that is not in the public domain but added that federal authorities must have had justification for the search.
“I don’t really have too much to say except that to have a visit like that, you need a warrant. To have a warrant, you need justification. And that says that no one is above the law, not even a president or a former president of the United States,” Pelosi said.
Separately Tuesday, a panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit authorized a House committee to obtain Trump’s federal income tax returns and those of Trump business entities from the Internal Revenue Service.
Trump can appeal the ruling to the full DC Court of Appeals or possibly to the US Supreme Court. EFE