FBI raid on Trump's Florida home sparks political row
The newest scandal has sparked a political firestorm, but former US Donald Trump is no stranger to backlash.
The dramatic FBI raid on Donald Trump's palatial Florida residence has supercharged the bitter, polarizing political debate around the slew of judicial investigations facing the former President as he considers another White House run.
Monday's shocking action marked a stunning escalation of legal probes into the 45th US President, drawing cheers from his political foes and condemnation from his allies.
"Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before," Trump said of the day-long FBI search of his luxury Mar-a-Lago resort.
He denounced the FBI raid as "prosecutorial misconduct" and "weaponization of the Justice System" by "radical Left Democrats who desperately don't want me to run for President in 2024."
The FBI declined to provide a reason for the unprecedented move against a former chief executive.
But multiple US media outlets said federal agents were conducting a court-authorized search related to the potential mishandling of classified documents that had been sent to Mar-a-Lago after Trump left the White House in January 2021.
January 6 attack
Trump has also been facing intense legal scrutiny for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by his supporters.
Since taking his last Air Force One flight from Washington to Florida on January 20 last year, Trump has remained the country's most divisive figure, pursuing his false claims that he actually won the 2020 vote.
Tea was spilled in the last #Capitol riot hearing, as Cassidy Hutchinson revealed firsthand stories about #Trump's chaotic behavior before, during, and after the riots.#CapitolRiot #CapitolAttack #January6thHearings pic.twitter.com/7ko35ToJRM— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) June 29, 2022
Leading Republicans quickly rallied around the former President, who was not present at Mar-a-Lago when the raid took place, while top Democrats reacted cautiously or withheld comment.
"The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization," said Kevin McCarthy, a California lawmaker who is seeking to become the speaker of the House of Representatives if Republicans win back the chamber in November's midterm elections.
Ronna McDaniel, the Republican Party chairwoman, called the raid "outrageous".
"Countless times we have examples of Democrats flouting the law and abusing power with no recourse," McDaniel said. "Democrats continually weaponize the bureaucracy against Republicans."
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally, said "launching an investigation of a former President this close to an election is beyond problematic."
After denouncing the raid in a lengthy statement Monday evening, Trump's team put out a fund-raising message on Tuesday asking "every single red-blooded American Patriot to step up" and donate to fight what he called "this neverending witch hunt."
Pelosi: No person is above the law
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House, was asked about the raid during an appearance on NBC. "No person is above the law," she said, "not even a former president of the United States."
In his statement, Trump did not give any indication about why the FBI raided his home but said, "They even broke into my safe!"
Andrew McCabe, a former deputy director of the FBI, said he believed the bureau may have been looking for "something specific" related to its probe into the alleged mishandling of classified information.
The National Archives said in February that it had recovered 15 boxes of documents from Mar-a-Lago and asked the Justice Department to look into Trump's handling of classified information.
Pence expresses 'deep concern' over FBI raid
Former US Vice President Mike Pence expressed "deep concern" on Tuesday about the FBI raid on ex-President Donald Trump's Florida home, accusing the Justice Department of "partisanship".
I share the deep concern of millions of Americans over the unprecedented search of the personal residence of President Trump. No former President of the United States has ever been subject to a raid of their personal residence in American history.— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) August 9, 2022
"I share the deep concern of millions of Americans over the unprecedented search of the personal residence of President Trump," Pence tweeted.
"No former President of the United States has ever been subject to a raid of their personal residence in American history," he noted.
Pence fell out with Trump following the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by Trump supporters, and he is rumored to be considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.