A handful of Republican governors have criticized the “outrageous rhetoric” of their party colleagues in the US Congress, who have accused federal law enforcement of a politicized attack on the former president donald trump after executing a court-approved search warrant at his Florida home this week.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a moderate Republican, described attacks by party members as both “absurd” and “dangerous” after a week in which some Republicans have compared the FBI to the Gestapo and raised funds with the slogan: “Fund the FBI”.
Speaking to ABC News on Sunday, Hogan described comparisons between the FBI and Nazi Germany’s secret police, made by Florida Senator Rick Scott, as “very disturbing to me, this is outrageous rhetoric”.
He added: ‘It’s absurd and, you know, it’s dangerous’, especially after an enraged gunman from the raid was killed in Ohio when he tried to invade an FBI office. “There are threats everywhere and losing faith in our federal law enforcement officers and our justice system is a really serious problem for the country.”
On Monday, FBI agents executed a search warrant at the former president’s private club and residence in South Florida with an unsealed warrant later revealing Trump is being investigated for potential violations of the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice for his alleged mishandling of classified documents.
The episode inflamed conservative commentators and politicians still deeply loyal to the former president, and was followed by the attack on the FBI field office in Cincinnati, Ohio on Thursday that led to a six-hour armed standoff that left the lone gunman dejected.
Hogan, who is he was rumored to be planning to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024argued that many of his colleagues in Washington had “jumping to conclusions without any information, which I believe was wrong.”
He added that the revelations in the unsealed warrant were a “serious concern”, but argued that investigators should provide more details about the contents of the documents seized.
Hogan’s comments were followed by remarks from Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who appeared on CNN on Sunday and partially mirrored his Maryland counterpart.
“If the GOP is to be the party that supports law enforcement, law enforcement includes the FBI,” said Hutchinson, a former U.S. attorney and private practice attorney.
He added: “We have to step aside to pass judgment on them. … There is no doubt that the highest ranks of the FBI have made mistakes, they do, I have also defended cases and seen bad deeds. But you can’t say that every time they [FBI officers] came in and made this search that they weren’t doing their job as law enforcement officers.
The comments marked a growing division over the extremist rhetoric of some members of the Republican Party following the execution of the search warrant. Many senior Senate Republicans have remained largely silent following the unprecedented police action, while others appeared on conservative news channels backing baseless accusations that the FBI planted evidence during the search.
Republican Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney, a senior member of the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US capitol, condemned her colleagues’ rhetoric as “sickening”.
“I was ashamed to hear members of my party attacking the integrity of the FBI agents involved in the recent Mar-a-Lago raid,” Cheney said. written thursday. “These are sickening comments that endanger the lives of patriotic public servants.”
His position is slowly mirrored by other House Republicans after the warrant was made public on Friday.
Dan Crenshaw, Republican Congressman from Texas said to Axios Saturday that the slogans against the FBI “make you look not serious”. And John Katko, a senior member of the Homeland Security Committee, told the website: ‘This is not something you rush to judge. … It is everyone’s responsibility to breathe deeply.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, the White House continued to refrain from commenting on the search warrant. Publicist Karine Jean-Pierre repeatedly declined to answer questions about it during an interview with ABC News, citing the US Department of Justice’s independence from law enforcement.
When shown a video of comments by House Republican Elise Stefanik, a staunch Trump loyalist, who described the search as “abusive and overbroad” by the FBI, Jean-Pierre widely retaliated.
She said: ‘The Ministry of Justice, as far as law enforcement is concerned, is independent. That’s what we believe, and that’s what the president said. It’s not about politicizing anything. That’s not true at all.”
Jean-Pierre added a reminder that US Attorney General Merrick Garland was confirmed by the US Senate in a bipartisan vote and that Trump appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray to his post in 2017.