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Republicans demand answers from DOJ and FBI over Trump search raid

Updated August 9, 2022 at 7:19 PM ET

Republican allies of former President Donald Trump are decrying Monday's FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago property as a federal overreach and they're vowing to launch investigations over it.

The FBI's move is part of an ongoing Department of Justice probe into Trump keeping documents that he was supposed to turn over to the National Archives and Records Administration after leaving office.

In a statement Monday evening, Trump announced news of the search, saying agents had gone through his resort and residency in Palm Beach, Fla., earlier that morning.

Top GOP House members are demanding increased transparency from the DOJ and FBI following the search. In a statement Monday night, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., pledged to launch an investigation.

"When Republicans take back the House, we will conduct immediate oversight of this department, follow the facts, and leave no stone unturned. Attorney General Garland, preserve your documents and clear your calendar," McCarthy said.

Republicans on the House Judiciary and Oversight committees are hoping to hear from DOJ and FBI officials this week.

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan called out both Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray Monday night during an appearance on Fox News, demanding both officials brief the Judiciary Committee, for which Jordan is the ranking member.

The Oversight Committee is also asking for a briefing from Wray, according to a letter from Ohio Republican Congressman and ranking member Michael Turner.

Similarly, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan called on the Biden administration to release "at a minimum" the documents authorizing the FBI search.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday the president did not receive notice of the search and referred questions to the Justice Department. Jean-Pierre said Justice conducts investigations independently, and the president is committed to ensuring the department's work is free from political influence.

"The president was not briefed, was not aware of it. No one at the White House was given a heads up," Jean-Pierre said.

"We learned just like the American public did yesterday," she said.

The GOP response has varied in the Senate

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement on Tuesday evening after declining to answer a question about the FBI search when asked about it at a press event related to flooding in Kentucky, his home state.

"The country deserves a thorough and immediate explanation of what led to the events of Monday. Attorney General Garland and the Department of Justice should already have provided answers to the American people and must do so immediately," McConnell said in the statement.

Fellow Senate Republicans who are vocal supporters of Trump didn't wait for McConnell to start speaking out earlier.

"At a minimum, Garland must resign or be impeached," Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., wrote. "The search warrant must be published. Christoper Wray [sic] must be removed. And the FBI reformed top to bottom."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., also criticized the FBI's decision, alluding that the move may be politically motivated by the approaching midterms and the possibility that Trump will likely run for president again in 2024.

"Doing this 90 days before an election reeks of politics," he said on Tuesday, adding that he believed Trump "was going to run before. I'm stronger in my belief now."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: August 8, 2022 at 11:00 PM CDT
A previous version of this story misspelled Sen. Lindsey Graham's name. The story has been updated to also reflect that he's from South Carolina, not North Carolina.
Elena Moore is a production assistant for the NPR Politics Podcast. She also fills in as a reporter for the NewsDesk. Moore previously worked as a production assistant for Morning Edition. During the 2020 presidential campaign, she worked for the Washington Desk as an editorial assistant, doing both research and reporting. Before coming to NPR, Moore worked at NBC News. She is a graduate of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and is originally and proudly from Brooklyn, N.Y.
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