Kevin McCarthy backs Trump hoarding top secret papers, calling FBI search an ‘assault on democracy’

Republican leader in House frames the FBI raid as a partisan attack

Abe Asher
Friday 02 September 2022 00:54 BST
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Donald Trump: What happened during the FBI Mar-a-Lago raid?

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy defended former President Donald Trump over his handling of classified documents on Thursday, calling the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago an “assault on democracy.”

“Joe Biden and a politicised Department of Justice launched a raid on the home of a top political rival, Donald Trump,” Mr McCarthy said at an event in Scranton, Pennsylvania. “That is an assault on democracy.”

Those who do not share Mr McCarthy’s fealty to the former president, however, could easily interpret Mr Trump’s actions as an assault on democracy. The FBI reportedly siezed a cache of unsecured classified documents from Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, leaving Mr Trump in legal jeopardy as he considers making another bid for the White House.

Mr McCarthy’s statement on the raid contained several falsehoods. Mr Biden did not order the raid, which was authorised by a Department of Justice leadership that includes Mr Trump’s FBI Director Christopher Wray after a judge found probable cause for the search. Mr Trump did not, it appears, have the authority to take the documents the FBI found.

“What we have seen and come to understand is very, very worrisome, and I know that national security professionals inside of government, my former colleagues, are shaking their heads at what damage might have been done,” former CIA Director John Brennan said on an MSNBC programme on Thursday.

“Here is an individual who had access to this country’s most sensitive national security secrets, and he decided, wihtout any type of legal basis, to take many doucments out of the White House and bring them down to Mar-a-Lago in an unsecured manner,” Mr Brennan continued.

Mr Trump and his allies, including Mr McCarthy, have bristled at both the fact of the raid and how it was conducted — even though the government attempted to recover the documents from Mr Trump and his legal team for the better part of a year before launching the search.

The Justice Department included in a recent court filing a photograph of classified documents spread about a floor at Mar-a-Lago next to a box of framed magazine covers, after which Mr Trump said the agents “threw documents haphazardly all over the floor.”

It is not yet clear whether or not Mr Trump will be criminally charged for his handling of the documents, nor is it clear how much risk his handling of the documents posed to national security.

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