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Republicans turn up heat on Trump raid

By HENG WEILI in New York | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-08-16 09:21
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Calls for FBI to open up on search of ex-president's home come amid threats

Former US president Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort is seen in Palm Beach, Florida, US, on Feb 8, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

The political fallout from the FBI search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort is spreading, with Republicans on Sunday calling for the release of more details while two US federal agencies warned of increased threats against authorities.

Republican supporters of the former United States president stepped up calls for the release of an FBI affidavit showing the justification for the seizure of the documents from the Florida property.

"I think releasing the affidavit would help, at least that would confirm that there was justification for this raid," Republican Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota told NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday.

In a post on his Truth Social platform, Trump asked for the return of some of the documents that the FBI allegedly took: "Oh great! It has just been learned that the FBI, in its now famous raid of Mar-a-Lago, took boxes of privileged 'attorney-client' material, and also 'executive' privileged material, which they knowingly should not have taken."

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation removed 11 sets of classified documents, including some marked top secret and meant to be only available in certain government facilities, according to a search warrant released by a Florida court on Friday, The Wall Street Journal first reported.

CBS News reported on Sunday that it had obtained a joint memo from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security referencing online threats in the wake of the Mar-a-Lago search.

"The FBI and DHS have observed an increase in threats to federal law enforcement and, to a lesser extent, other law enforcement and government officials following the FBI's recent execution of a search warrant in Palm Beach, Florida," the bulletin read. "These threats are occurring primarily online and across multiple platforms, including social media sites, web forums, video sharing platforms, and image boards."

'Armed rebellion'

The bulletin cited a threat to place a so-called dirty bomb in front of the FBI's headquarters and calls for "civil war" and "armed rebellion".

"Since 8 August 2022, the FBI and DHS have identified multiple articulated threats and calls for the targeted killing of judicial, law enforcement, and government officials associated with the Palm Beach search," it read.

Trump, his allies, some Republicans in Congress and many conservative pundits have responded with anger against the FBI and officials involved in the investigation of Trump. They also have sent messages to their supporters claiming that the FBI would target them next.

Others are calling for its defunding, and some accused the agency of being politically motivated.

In addition to ongoing protests in Palm Beach and at Trump's golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, armed supporters protested outside the FBI office in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday, Fox 10 Phoenix reported.

The supporters wore caps, glasses and face coverings and held up signs reading "Honor your oath" and "Abolish FBI". In St. Louis on Sunday, about two dozen protesters showed up outside the FBI field office, holding a banner that read "Defund the FBI", the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

US Representative Brian Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican and a former FBI agent, told CBS News' Face the Nation on Sunday that "in my few short years in Congress, I've seen undermining of all three branches of government lead to threats of violence and acts of violence. …And now to federal law enforcement. All of it's unacceptable."

Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan quoted statements from Trump, including that "the FBI has a long and unrelenting history of being corrupt". And that it is a "criminal RICO enterprise whose cover sources and methods include criminal acts".

"His campaign is fundraising off of this and has referred to an army of agents from the FBI breaking into his home and said that he hopes they're not planting evidence," Brennan said. "Is he putting a target on the back of these FBI agents?"

Fitzpatrick replied: "Every single elected official, every single leader needs to mind the weight of their words."

Also on Sunday, Republican Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson told CNN's State of the Union: "We need to pull back on casting judgment on them (the FBI).

"If you want to hold people accountable, it is the Department of Justice."

The bulletin from the FBI and the DHS also mentioned that the congressional midterm elections in November could be motivating some of the people behind the threats.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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