Monday, August 15, 2022


According to Luke Broadwater of The New York Times, the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago has caused a major split in the GOP.
As Republicans continued on Sunday to defend former President Donald J. Trump after an unprecedented F.B.I. search of his residence in Florida, deep fissures were visible in the party’s support for law enforcement amid a federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s handling of top secret documents.
"Deep fissures"! How deep exactly?
Immediately after the search, congressional Republicans, including members of leadership, reacted with fury, attacking the nation’s top law enforcement agencies. Some called to “defund” or “destroy” the F.B.I., and others invoked the Nazi secret police, using words like “gestapo” and “tyrants.”

On Sunday, more moderate voices in the party chastised their colleagues for the broadsides against law enforcement, making a more restrained case for defending Mr. Trump while also carrying out oversight of the Justice Department.
So no one in the party is actually defending the search or criticizing the criminal ex-president. The "deep fissures" are merely on matters of tone.

Here's one set of responses to the search:
Mr. Trump’s political action committee has been furiously fund-raising off the F.B.I. search, sending out at least 17 text messages to donors since Tuesday. “The Dems broke into the home of Pres. Trump,” one read. “This is POLITICAL TARGETING!” another alleged. “THEY’RE COMING AFTER YOU!” a third said.

Donald Trump Jr., the former president’s son, wrote another fund-raising email on Sunday: “The witch hunt continues…The FBI’s raid of Mar-a-Lago was a DISGRACE. In fact, it’s UNFATHOMABLE.”

On Saturday, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, also called for the repeal of the Espionage Act, one of the statutes that prompted the investigation....

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican whom the National Republican Congressional Committee is featuring in fund-raising appeals, has begun selling merchandise that says “Defund the F.B.I.”
And here are responses on the other side of the "fissure":
That is a much different approach from Representative Michael R. Turner of Ohio, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, who defended Mr. Trump on Sunday....

“Clearly, no one is above the law,” Mr. Turner said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Donald Trump is not above the law. And Attorney General Garland is not above the law, either. And Congress has the powers of oversight. He needs to comply.”

Mr. Turner said he had not been convinced “whether or not this actually is classified material and whether or not it rises to the level of the highest classified material,” despite the documents released by the court.

“I’d be very surprised if he has actual documents that rise to the level of an immediate national security threat,” Mr. Turner said.

Two of the laws referred to in the search warrant, however, make the taking or concealment of government records a crime regardless of whether they are related to national security....

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, the top Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, called on his panel to scrutinize Mr. Garland’s actions.

“Never has a former president and potential political opponent to the sitting president been subject to such a search,” Mr. Portman said in a statement. “The attorney general and the F.B.I. should now demonstrate unprecedented transparency and explain to the American people why they authorized the raid.”

Senator Mike Rounds, Republican of South Dakota, took a similar approach.

“I’m not one of the individuals out there that says that, you know, ‘Immediately attack the F.B.I. or the Justice Department,’” he said on “Meet the Press.”

“But,” he added, “I think it’s very important long term for the Justice Department, now that they’ve done this, that they show that this was not just a fishing expedition.”
Of course, this is the longstanding Republican approach to messaging: Send out the crazies six days a week to fire up the base with the reddest of red meat, then send "nice" Republicans to the Sunday morning talk shows to persuade political insiders and upscale viewers that the GOP is a temperate party that can be trusted with governing. Republicans have been doing this good cop/bad cop act for decades, and they continue to get away with it. But the so-called good cops generally launch the same attacks as their angier colleagues, except in nicer words. That's what's happening here.

No comments: