Some South Carolina Republicans quickly denounced the Monday search by the FBI of former President Donald Trump’s home at Florida’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where agents executed a search warrant for classified documents.
Moments after news of the search broke while many details were still unclear, Congressman Jeff Duncan and many national Republicans blasted the FBI and the Biden administration, with Duncan calling the agency “corrupt to the core.”
“The FBI has proven time and again that it is corrupt to the core. At what point do we abolish the bureau and start over?” Duncan, R-Laurens, tweeted. “... The weaponization and politicalization of federal agencies is egregious and scary.”
Meanwhile, Trump ally and the state’s senior Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, took a more measured response, though he criticized the timing of the search roughly 90 days before the midterm elections and said conservatives will be “suspicious” of Trump-related investigations.
“Time will tell regarding this most recent investigation,” Graham tweeted. “However, launching such an investigation of a former President this close to an election is beyond problematic.”
Graham is back in South Carolina Tuesday, where he and Gov. Henry McMaster are scheduled to hold a press conference on the Inflation Reduction Act, passed by the Senate Sunday.
FBI agents searched Trump’s Florida home Monday over the handling of classified documents, sources confirmed to McClatchyDC/Miami Herald. A source told McClatchyDC that agents obtained a search warrant from a federal magistrate judge in West Palm Beach to get dozens of boxes allegedly containing classified material that Trump had taken to his home when he left the White House.
The source said the FBI was able to show probable cause because Trump and his lawyers had already turned over classified documents sought by the National Archives and Records Administration.
The White House was unaware of the FBI’s actions Monday, a White House official told McClatchyDC, referring questions to the Department of Justice in Washington.
“The DOJ needs to provide information about the raid immediately. If this is only about document retention, it should cost Merrick Garland his job,” tweeted Mick Mulvaney, a former South Carolina congressman and Trump administration official who resigned his post because of Trump’s response to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. “If the Mar-a-Lago raid is really about documents, it makes me wonder if the local police can send the SWAT team to kick in your front door to get your overdue library books. The government better have a better reason for this invasion.”
Garland was appointed by President Joe Biden in 2021. The FBI director is Christopher Wray, a 2017 Trump appointee.
SC Republicans slam FBI, Scott holds off rush ‘to judgment’
South Carolina Republicans also sought to tie a double standard to the FBI and the DOJ, accusing the two of failing to go after the president’s son Hunter, under federal investigation for his business dealings in Ukraine.
“They came after Trump the candidate. Then Trump as president. Now as the former president gearing up for another run,” U.S. Rep. William Timmons, R-Greenville, tweeted. “When you drain the swamp, the swamp fights back. Meanwhile Hunter Biden gets pass after pass.”
U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill, questioned the FBI’s motives nearly 600 days after Trump left the White House in 2021, calling it “nonsense.”
“This raid on a former president’s home is unprecedented and has all the markings of a total abuse of political power,” Norman tweeted.
Like Graham, Sen. Tim Scott, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, on Tuesday questioned the search by the FBI, but said the country needs to let the investigation play out.
“It has to be something of incredible magnitude for at least my side of the aisle to say that was warranted. Without that, I think we’re going to find ourselves in a very big mess as it relates to the credibility of the FBI,” the state’s junior senator told CBS Mornings. “As opposed to rushing to judgment, the most important thing we can do is let it play out.”
McClatchyDC and the Miami Herald contributed to this report.
This is a developing story. It will be updated.