Politics GOP backs Trump, escalates dark rhetoric after FBI search
4 lingering misconceptions about the FBI raid on Trump's Mar-a-Lago
Trumpworld is sowing doubt about what happened during the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. Feds are starting to provide some answers, but confusion reigns.Memories of Mar-a-Lago came flooding back Monday night when the news broke that the FBI had executed a search warrant on Donald Trump's permanent residence.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans in Congress who are relying on Donald Trump to excite voters in the fall elections are not only defending the former president against thebut politically capitalizing on it with grave and potentially dangerous rhetoric against the nation’s justice system.
The party that once stood staunchly for law-and-order has dramatically reversed course,and far-right conspiracies that fed the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Michael Cohen says he 'would not be surprised' if FBI informant was one of Trump's kids or Jared Kushner
"It's definitely a member of his inner circle," Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer, told Insider on Thursday.My visits there as a White House reporter for Politico more than five years ago came during the earliest days of Trump's presidency. They gave me an up-close look into all of the controversy and celebrity hoopla that surrounded a man who just months earlier had become the most powerful person on the planet.
It's all part of the GOP’s election year strategy to harness voter outrage over the unprecedented search, quickly and unequivocally set in motion as Trump hosted a dozen Republicans for dinner of steak and scallops at his private Bedminster club the day after the FBI action.
One Republican at the table, Rep. Troy Nehls of Texas, a former sheriff, said he told the former president “loud and clear” that it's time to protect himself politically by declaring his 2024 campaign for the presidency.
"Mr. President, I said, the American people, your supporters, are concerned with this corrupt DOJ and the FBI."
“If I were you, sir, announce you’re running for president," Nehls recalled telling Trump. "Take that doubt, take that anxiety away from the people that want you to be our 47th president.”
Trump doesn't deny taking classified nuclear documents from the White House while baselessly accusing Obama of the same thing
Obama "kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified," Trump falsely claimed. "How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!"Instead, he again attacked former President Barack Obama, falsely accusing him of illegally keeping classified documents.
The escalating rhetoric comes amid stark warnings of violence against law enforcement, including the Ohio police shooting Thursday of anwho tried to breach the FBI’s Cincinnati office and engaged in an hours-long standoff. The day before, FBI Director Christopher Wray had The FBI has warned its agents to take precautions, citing an increase in social media threats to bureau personnel and facilities. In some extreme cases, GOP lawmakers and others are demanding the FBI be dismantled and defunded.
It's all coming at a time of blistering attacks on the nation's civic institutions that experts say is worrisome, if not dangerous, for the future of U.S. democracy. With no branch of government unscathed, the discord risks sowing distrust in the White House, the Congress and the Supreme Court. It has kept security tight in Washington, limiting public access to the government.
A timeline of how the FBI came to search Trump's Mar-a-Lago as part of an Espionage Act probe
Here is a timeline of Trump's dealing with the National Archives, the Department of Justice and missing classified documents. Here is a timeline on the missing Trump papers and how the FBI came to search Mar-a-Lago. Have a tip? Please email us at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. The FBI's search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida follows months of allegations that the former president mishandled government records, including reports of him ripping up documents and photos of notes with handwriting resembling his that he reportedly tried to flush down the toilet.
“All of this rhetoric is being thrown around without any consideration for possible consequences,” said Frank Montoya Jr., a retired FBI special agent who led the bureau’s field offices in Seattle and Honolulu.
“All that does is stir up that minority within the base that aren’t satisfied with just words, they actually want to act it out.”
Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, said, "The vitriol coming from extremists, white supremacists and others, has been overwhelming,” pointing to rhetoric from Trump's former campaign manager Steve Bannon and others warning of assassinations or calling for civil war.
"We usually expect that from these quarters, but the same kind of rhetoric is coming from prominent Republicans and Trump allies," she said by email. “These comments coming from Republicans are really worrying as they are mainstreaming violent rhetoric.”
Asked Friday at the Capitol about the responsibility leaders have to tone down the rhetoric and keep the nation calm during times of uncertainty and distress, House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy demurred — and blamed Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Extremism experts warn of echoes of Jan. 6 in rightist response to FBI Mar-a-Lago raid
Extremism experts warn of echoes of Jan. 6 in rightist response to FBI Mar-a-Lago raidScreenshots taken from Trump’s social media platform, Truth Social, show that an account using Shiffer’s name, which appears to have been removed, posted a “call to arms” on Tuesday morning, hours after Trump confirmed the raid had taken place at his Florida residence a day earlier.
“I think the attorney general has a real problem here,” McCarthy said.
Video: GOP leaders condemn FBI search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate as 'weaponized politicization' (USA TODAY)
McCarthy, who is in line to become speaker if his party wins House control, revived Republican concerns that Trump is being treated unfairly, as the first former president to have his home searched by the FBI, and he criticized the attorney general for delivering only a few minutes' explanation during a press conference.
In McCarthy's view, it was Garland, not his own party's rhetoric, that was dividing the nation.
“Why would you pause and not talk to the American public, knowing where the American public is at, that he is just inflaming the public, and why would you only speak for a few moments?” McCarthy said. “So I think the attorney general has a lot of explaining to do.”
Republicans believe the Justice Department has been overly tough on Trump going back to the Russia investigation into allegations the president was colluding with a foreign entity, including when he called on Russia to release emails it had stolen from the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential election.
Armed Trump supporters protest outside FBI office in Phoenix following Mar-a-Lago raid: reports
Donald Trump supporters, some armed with semi-automatic rifles and handguns, held "Abolish FBI" signs outside the office in Phoenix, Arizona.My visits there as a White House reporter for Politico more than five years ago came during the earliest days of Trump's presidency. They gave me an up-close look into all of the controversy and celebrity hoopla that surrounded a man who just months earlier had become the most powerful person on the planet.
The Republicans contrastwith its treatment of Hillary Clinton, who was investigated for using a private email server in violation of government rules during her time as secretary of state — an offense the led to long chants of “Lock her up!” during Trump rallies.
The No. 3 House Republican, Rep. Elise Stefanik, claimed without evidence the Biden administration was “weaponizing” the Justice Department against Trump, a top potential 2024 rival for the White House.
She joined fellow House Republicans on the Intelligence Committee on Friday in demanding information, and vowed if their party wins control in the November election they will find out what happened.
“The House Republican majority will leave no stone unturned when it comes to transparency and accountability into the brazen politicization of Joe Biden's Department of Justice and FBI targeting their political opponents,” Stefanik said.
Congressional Republicans have said their office phone lines are ringing from constituents outraged over the raid and they said they've never seen their colleagues more fired up to fight back — all the way to the November midterm elections.
Rep. Jim Banks, the Indiana Republican who organized the dinner with Trump, said they encouraged the former president to “kick off the campaign now” to seize the moment.
Banks said Trump will be a “big part” of the House Republicans' campaign to win back the House majority.
House lawmakers returned to session Friday to vote, walking through metal detectors to screen against firearms, a legacy of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. Lawmakers had a security briefing earlier this week to address ongoing threats against lawmakers.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that Trump’s role inciting the insurrection at the Capitol was sufficient cause to have concerns about inflammatory political rhetoric.
"You would think there's an adult in the Republican room who would say, 'Just calm down and see what the facts are and let's go for that,'" Pelosi said, “instead of again instigating assaults on law enforcement.”
One republican, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, a former FBI agent, called on lawmakers to cool it.
“I don’t think any of this is okay,” Fitzpatrick told reporters.
“We’re the world’s oldest democracy, and that can go away very quickly,” he said. “As our adversaries have said so many times: The only way you defeat America, you’re never going to beat America from the outside, ever. The only way you beat the world’s greatest democracy is from within — turning American on American."
He said, “So it’s incumbent upon everybody to act in a way that’s becoming of the office they hold — and that’s not casting judgment on anything until you know all the facts.”
Associated Press writers Alanna Durkin Richer in Boston, Michelle Price in New York and videojournalist Nathan Ellgren contributed to this report.
Tucker Carlson: There's a reason the public's confidence in the FBI has plummeted .
Donald Trump loyalists are now targeting the FBI with threats and violence. Truth Social users in particular have doxxed--sharing their sensitive, personal information online--the judge and FBI agent involved in the Mar-a-Lago search warrant. Tiffany Cross in for Joy Reid and our panel bring you their expert analysis of these developments on The ReidOut on MSNBC.