Ohio Rep. Mike Turner, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, urged at a news conference Friday that Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray “explain the impending threat to national security on which they based their decision” to charge the former president to search Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and to learn more about an informant who allegedly aided the FBI.
“There were many other options available to them,” Turner said. “We believe these questions will still remain unanswered after release today.”
Turner praised Garland for requesting access to the search warrant and title deed from the search, but criticized the FBI’s “method” in searching the former president’s Florida home.
“We are very concerned about the method used in the Mar-a-Largo robbery in the nine hours that took place while they were at the former president’s home,” Turner said. “We are pleased that Attorney General Garland has begun releasing some of the information to the American public.” “But it will still leave a lot of unanswered questions,” he added.
Turner said Republicans would send a letter to Wray today asking for an informant who allegedly tipped investigators about the possibility of additional classified documents in the Palm Beach club.
“We are also very concerned about the disturbing reports that there was an informant, perhaps even someone undercover, in Mar-a-Lago or around former President Donald Trump,” Turner said. “What is the relationship between the FBI and the person allegedly used in this process?”
Other Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee portrayed the news of the FBI search for Mar-a-Lago as the latest in a series of actions by the Justice Department against Trump and protecting Democrats.
New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, a member of the GOP leadership, called Monday’s quest “a complete abuse and violation of his authority.”
“Unfortunately, as the American people know, this is the same leadership that protected Hillary Clinton, James Comey and continues to protect Hunter Biden. The same agency leadership that spent years perpetrating the false Russia hoax,” she claimed.
In response to a question from CNN’s Daniella Diaz, Turner split from Trump supporters who called for “the FBI to be downgraded”.
“We support our men and women in uniform who are on the police force,” Turner said. “And we ask anyone who has made such outrageous statements to question them and not us.”
When asked if there is a situation that would warrant the FBI to search Trump’s house, Turner said, “It would be very, very narrow from anything that just contains the umbrella of nuclear weapons, that would rise to the level of a immediate national security threat.”
When he pressed it, Turner added: “There are a number of things they could show us, and I don’t want to speculate on what that would be, that would of course go up to the level of maybe you don’t have options. But I’d be very, very, very surprised at what these people are considering in the breadth of what they could have done in addition, including going to court, trying to enforce the subpoena, and requiring the documents to be presented in court. ”
“It would be highly unusual for a president to have anything even in the Oval Office that reaches the level of immediate necessary threat,” he added.
Utah GOP Rep. Chris Stewart said the American people would question whether the search was political in nature until the Justice Department released more information, and turned away from questions about whether it would be appropriate for the FBI to seize top-secret documents. , even those related to nuclear weapons.
“I think it’s naive to assume that the American people wouldn’t question whether it’s political. Of course they will wonder. Look what has happened in the past five years. And look at the premise of most of your questions,” Stewart said.
“Was it nuclear?” Hey, maybe they were aliens,” he added. “That’s the point. We don’t know. We’re asking them to tell us. And until they tell us, we’re going to get questions like this. And the assumption will be that it’s political. There’s a way to depoliticize. Give us the information.”
In addition, GOP Representative Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, told reporters as he entered the House chamber that he believes Garland and Wray should discuss the search for Mar-a-Lago with lawmakers.
Merrick Garland and Chris Wray should be in front of us today, we’re all here. The Republicans on the Justice Committee are here, why don’t they come and talk to us today?’ said Jordan.