Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, defended the FBI on Sunday as other members of his party have sharply criticized the federal law enforcement agency in the wake of Monday’s raid on former President Donald Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago residence.
The FBI, with the approval of Attorney General Merrick Garland, carried out the raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort home, searching for top secret and sensitive compartmentalized information, as well as other classified documents. Trump and his allies have condemned the raid, with the ex-president calling it part of a “hoax” and an ongoing “witch hunt” targeting him.
According to court papers released on Friday after a federal judge unsealed the warrant authorizing the search, federal agents seized classified documents at the property. The documents also showed the ex-president is under investigation for a possible violation of the Espionage Act.
Hutchinson’s defense of the FBI came during an interview on CNN‘s State of the Union. Before he addressed Republicans‘ attacks on the bureau, host Brianna Keilar played footage of other Republican officials criticizing the raid this week. These included comments from New York Representative Elise Stefanik and Florida Senator Rick Scott.
“The FBI raid of President Trump is a complete abuse and overreach of its authority,” Stefanik said at a press conference on Friday.
“The way our federal government has gone, it’s like what we thought about the Gestapo, people like that, that they just go after people,” Scott said on Fox Business on Tuesday.
After playing the footage, Keilar asked the governor: “Are Trump and some Republicans putting the lives of the FBI’s men and women at risk?”
“Well if the GOP is going to be the party of supporting law enforcement, law enforcement includes the FBI,” Hutchinson responded, and added that federal law enforcement officials “do extraordinarily heroic efforts to enforce our rule of law, which is fundamental to the Republican Party and to our democracy. The FBI is apart of that.”
The governor went on to say that the FBI “is simply carrying out their responsibilities under the law, a lawful search warrant that a magistrate signed off on.”
“And they didn’t go in there with FBI raid jackets, they tried to constrain their behavior carrying out that warrant. So let’s support law enforcement, let’s stand with them. Whether it’s the DEA, the FBI or your local law enforcement. That’s critically important that we do that because they’re simply trying to do their job and to keep anarchy away from our country,” Hutchinson continued.
In statement on Monday, Trump called the raid “not necessary or appropriate,” and said his home was “under siege, raided, and occupied.” He called the law enforcement action a “weaponization of the Justice System,” and later said the FBI could have been planting evidence.
CNN also reported Saturday that the FBI is investigating an “unprecedented” number of threats against its staff following the raid.
Newsweek has reached out to Trump’s press office for comment.
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