McCarthy didn’t mention Trump, but the statement was a clear reference to news that the FBI had searched Trump’s home at his Mar-A-Lago resort in Palm Beach. The investigation reportedly pertains to records Trump brought to his private residence from the White House, though the Justice Department has not issued a statement or confirmed any details.
Trump himself complained about his home being “under siege” by a large group of FBI agents.
“Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before,” he said in a statement.
Despite the lack of information about the search, McCarthy and other Republicans suggested it was fundamentally improper to investigate possible wrongdoing by the former president ― in other words, that Trump should be above the law.
McCarthy said that if Republicans win control of the House in November’s midterm elections, they will task committees with investigating the Justice Department’s investigation of Trump.
“When Republicans take back the House, we will conduct immediate oversight of this department, follow the facts, and leave no stone unturned,” McCarthy said.
To Attorney General Merrick Garland, McCarthy said, “preserve your documents and clear your calendar.”
The National Archives said earlier this year that it had obtained 15 boxes of presidential records that Trump had failed to turn over at the end of his term, contrary to the Presidential Records Act, which states that a president’s papers belong to the public. The archives said it was still looking for additional records and that some of the documents Trump did turn over had been torn up.
The Justice Department has also reportedly been looking into Trump’s role in the events of Jan. 6, 2021, when he encouraged a violent mob of his supporters to head to the U.S. Capitol in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
A Justice Department special counsel reported in 2019 that Trump likely committed obstruction of justice by interfering with an investigation into his 2016 campaign.
But in statements on Monday evening, congressional Republicans discounted the possibility that Trump could have committed a crime.
“The Democrats, for too long, have used our government agencies from the FBI to the IRS to target their political opponents,” Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-Tenn.) tweeted. “This inconceivable raid is an attack on our Republic.”
The current director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, is a Republican who was appointed by Trump after Trump fired his predecessor, James Comey, for investigating his 2016 campaign.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) offered a more measured response, saying that “time will tell” regarding the FBI’s investigation and that nobody is above the law. “However, launching such an investigation of a former President this close to an election is beyond problematic,” Graham said.
Several Republicans said President Joe Biden had orchestrated a raid on Trump’s home in order to prevent Trump from running for president in 2024.
“Biden is weaponizing the DOJ against his political opponents,” Rep. Fred Keller (R-Pa.) said. “If they can do this to the former President of the United States, imagine what they can do to you.”
Several other lawmakers said Republicans should do more than conduct oversight of the FBI.
“We must destroy the FBI,” Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) tweeted.