The FBI raid was probably the best thing to happen to Trump in ages

AP Photo/John Raoux

We’ve already dug into the many questions surrounding the stunning FBI raid on Donald Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago. Seeing the Biden administration weaponizing the FBI and the Justice Department against their perceived political foes while ignoring far more dubious activity by members of their own party probably shouldn’t come as a surprise. And like many of the other investigations launched against Trump and his family around the country, this one will likely also wind up being a big nothingburger. But as the responses continue to roll out in Washington, it’s starting to look as if the Democrats may have crossed a line that they will come to regret. Rather than frightening off Trump’s allies and seeking to tarnish the former president to the point where he might not run in 2024, almost the exact opposite seems to be happening. Republicans, including some who have been critical of Trump at times, have been lining up shoulder-to-shoulder to condemn the raid and support Trump. This includes House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who hopes to take the Speaker’s gavel if the GOP flips the House this November. In a rather humorous warning to the DoJ, McCarthy told Attorney General Merrick Garland to “preserve your documents and clear your calendar.” This is from Politico.

The House GOP leaped Monday night to denounce the FBI search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy vowing to investigate the Justice Department should Republicans take back the chamber this fall as expected.

“I’ve seen enough,” McCarthy tweeted hours after Trump confirmed that his Florida resort was searched by federal officials. Using the same term the former president did in his own statement on the raid — “weaponization” — to describe DOJ’s actions, the California Republican and frontrunner for speaker next year told Attorney General Merrick Garland to “preserve your documents and clear your calendar.”

McCarthy followed a long line of rank-and-file House conservatives who took to social media to condemn the FBI search, most of them stalwart conservative allies of Trump.

There had been a general sense in Washington this summer that at least some Republicans were trying to distance themselves from Trump and his fixation on the 2020 election because it hasn’t been playing very well with much of the public. Many seemed to wish that Donald Trump would stop rocking the boat and generating headlines while they headed toward a midterm cycle that’s still looking pretty good for the GOP. But that FBI raid seems to have upended the Democrats’ apple cart.

The raid was obviously a breach of protocol. And the more we learn about the supposed allegations against Trump, the more illegitimate that raid looks. For one thing, we now know that Trump had already dispatched his legal team to go over those documents with the Justice Department in the spring and even turned over some pages that appeared to be covered by the Presidential Records Act.

Clearly, there was an ongoing dispute over the disposition of the remaining documents and records, but if the subject of the investigation (Trump) was already cooperating with the review, what was the justification to obtain a warrant and conduct a raid like that? Sending armed agents into anyone’s home to toss the place and confiscate property is a drastic step. It’s also clearly intended to intimidate the subject and generate headlines suggesting that there was some sort of criminal activity afoot.

It wasn’t just McCarthy who was promising action in response to this. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), the Republican Study Committee chair, vowed that there would be hearings in his committee if the GOP retakes the majority. He was quick to point out all of the provable badness involving Hunter Biden and the way that the FBI has mysteriously managed to not discover a thing about him.

This is all part of an emerging theme that’s showing up among Republicans since the raid went down. Using the federal government’s law enforcement muscle to punish your political opponents while letting your friends and family do whatever they like is something we would expect to see in a banana republic like Venezuela. Not in the United States. And even people who may not be fans of the former president should be able to understand this and be opposed to this sort of tyranny. At The Hill, it was quickly pointed out that even some of Trump’s fiercest critics and potential rivals for the 2024 nomination were quick go on the attack.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called it an “escalation in the weaponization of federal agencies,” while former Vice President Mike Pence said it “undermines public confidence in our justice system.” He demanded “a full accounting” of the matter.

Critics of Trump also offered worries that the surprise search could help the former president.

One of the most high-profile remarks came from a former Trump and Pence staffer who has emerged as a major critic of Trump over his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

The “former staffer” in question is Alyssa Farah Griffin. She’s been on the warpath against Trump for a while now, but her response to the raid was telling. She said that this incident could have “just handed Donald Trump the Republican nominee and potentially the presidency.”

Just a couple of weeks ago, there were Republicans making the rounds and casting doubt on whether Donald Trump could or even should seek the nomination for another term in 2024 or whether he would be better off remaining in his current role of aspiring kingmaker. Thanks to Merrick Garland and the FBI, the Biden administration’s scheme may have just placed him firmly back as the leader of the GOP parade.

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