Analysis: Trump seizes on FBI search to fuel backlash

Analysis: Trump seizes on FBI search to fuel backlash

Analysis: Trump seizes on FBI search to fuel backlash
Aug 10, 2022 2 mins, 51 secs

A day after the FBI search of his Florida resort, it was as if Trump had never been away, as he reapplied his grip on the national psyche by orchestrating a fierce backlash against the bureau, the Justice Department and the Biden White House, which has said it had no advance warning of the FBI activity.

That includes FBI Director Christopher Wray (a Trump appointee), Attorney General Merrick Garland and the former President himself, who has not said what was written in the search warrant.

The most the public knows is that the search was in relation to presidential records, including some classified material, that Trump is alleged to have taken from the White House.

And because government prosecutors don't typically talk about ongoing investigations unless they reach a decision to charge someone -- to ensure the integrity of the probe and the privacy of those under investigation -- it is unlikely there will be clarity on the situation anytime soon.

"The department can't say much about it now; it's inappropriate to talk about it now, but it's unclear, and it's a big deal," said Preet Bharara, a CNN senior legal analyst and a former US attorney for the Southern District of New York, on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

Given the extraordinary circumstances of a search at a former president's home, it seems unlikely that such a politically volcanic step would have been precipitated by clerical disputes over documents or minor infringements of the Presidential Records Act.

But that didn't halt full frontal attacks by Trump's political allies and media mouthpieces over the unprecedented search of an ex-President's home, a stunning escalation as the DOJ pursues two probes related to Trump.

"We are no better than a third world country, a banana republic," Trump wrote on Truth Social, characteristically accusing his foes of weaponizing the Justice Department, a transgression of which he was frequently guilty of attempting as President.

Trump may also be drawn into a criminal probe in Georgia into efforts by him and his allies to steal President Joe Biden's 2020 win in the state.

The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization," the California Republican said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Another key member of House GOP leadership also weighed in.

"There must be an immediate investigation and accountability into Joe Biden and his Administration's weaponizing this department against their political opponents -- the likely 2024 Republican candidate for President of the United States," said New York Rep.

They need to understand and be reminded of the fact that this was done with standard practices, a federal judge was involved, the department made the requisite showing, they got a search warrant, they collected the information," Gonzales said on CNN's "Newsroom."

"This doesn't mean Donald Trump is going to be charged, doesn't mean there is going to be a trial -- this is all part of the process of getting the information."

But such respect for judicial process, the rule of law and facts seems almost quaint in what is still clearly the Trump era of American politics.

Given the immediate claims by Trump allies that the search showed the Biden administration was weaponizing the law to persecute him, it is inevitable that the integrity of the country's instruments of justice will be further damaged -- even if the department takes criminal steps against him.

Not all Republicans jumped on Trump's bandwagon after the search.

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