“There’s a double standard when it comes to Trump,” Graham said, contrasting the FBI’s search for Mar-a-Lago with the agency’s investigation of political rivals, including Hillary Clinton for her use of ‘a private mail server when she was Secretary of State, and Hunter, the son of President Biden. (Hunter Biden is under investigation for tax debtsalthough Graham and other Republicans regularly say the FBI should probe its foreign business relationships.)
“And I will say this: If there is a lawsuit against Donald Trump for mishandling classified information after the Clinton debacle…there will be riots in the streets,” Graham said.
On Monday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre slammed the “dangerous” comments about violence by “extreme Republicans,” though she didn’t mention Graham by name.
Graham’s comments drew rebuke from critics who called Graham’s remarks “irresponsible” and “shameful”.
In response to a question from The Washington Post, Graham’s spokesman Kevin Bishop described the senator’s comments as “predicting/forecasting what he thinks will happen.”
Richard Haass, chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonpartisan think tank, chastised Graham for his remarks on Twitter.
“[Graham’s] the prediction that violence could follow any lawsuit against elder Potus may not legally qualify as incitement, but it is still irresponsible as it will be seen by some as a call for violence,” he said. writing. “Public officials are required to call for the rule of law.”
Others took the senator’s words as a threat rather than a prognosis. Former Congressman Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), a Tea Party supporter turned frequent Trump critic, called Graham “shameful” and “cowardly,” writing on Twitter that “threats of violence should NEVER stop the pursuit of justice. NEVER.”
Threats against the FBI have skyrocketed since agents searched Trump’s safe at his South Florida resort on August 8. The search led officers to recover a treasure trove of documents, many had “Among the most sensitive secrets we hold,” people involved in the research told The Post.
The FBI investigation is the latest legal push on Trump, who is now under intense scrutiny as the criminal investigation intensifies. The investigation is investigating whether he or his former aides took classified government documents and improperly stored them or never returned them. Trump’s lawyer argued that the former president cooperated with federal authorities and that many of the documents were covered by executive privilege.
Larry Cosme, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, told the Post this month that online posts have advocated the killing of FBI agents and overheated rhetoric from conservatives has warned that federal officials “are coming for you”.
Days after searching for documents at Mar-a-Lago, Navy veteran Ricky Shiffer was fatally shot after a police chase and standoff in Ohio, where he had attempted to break into an FBI field office. Authorities investigating the case attempt to determine Shiffer’s motive; his name was used on several social media platforms, including Truth Social, which called for a “call to arms” after the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago.