One of two Republicans on a select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol criticised his party’s response to a federal law enforcement investigation into Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents.
US Rep Adam Kinzinger told NBC’s Meet the Press on 28 August that if any other members of the House of Representatives walked out the Capitol with sensitive documents and were asked to return then, “and we refused to do it for years, we’d be in real trouble.”
FBI agents searched the former president’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida on 8 August after reviewing 184 classified documents he previously was keeping there, according to a heavily redacted search warrant affidavit unsealed this week.
US Department of Justice investigators suggested in court documents that Mr Trump’s mishandling of classified information returned from Mar-a-Lago to the National Archives and Records Administration could obstruct justice, jeopardise national security and compromise intelligence operations.
“The hypocrisy of folks in my party that spent years chanting ‘lock her up’ about Hillary Clinton because of some deleted emails or quote-unquote ‘wiping a server’ are out here defending a man who very clearly did not take national security to heart,” Mr Kinzinger said on Sunday. “This is disgusting, in my mind. No president should act this way, obviously.”
Republican leaders have rallied to the former president’s defence as he continues to fume on his social media platform in the days following the raid and subsequent public scrutiny, while US intelligence officials and lawmakers have announced their own assessments into national security risks connected to Mr Trump’s handling of documents.
House Republican leadership rushed to respond immediately following news of the raid. GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggested a Republican-controlled Congress would investigate US Attorney General Merrick and accused the Justice Department of an “intolerable state of weaponised politicization.” GOP caucus chair Elise Stefanik called the Justice Department “an actual threat to democracy.”
Meanwhile, far-right threats to federal law enforcement have accelerated in response to the raid, according to extremism researchers.
The FBI and US Department of Homeland Security also issued a joint internal bulletin warning of “an increase in threats and acts of violence” towards federal officials.