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Some Republicans Make a More Restrained Case for Defending Trump

WASHINGTON — As Republicans continued to defend former President Donald J. Trump after an unprecedented F.B.I. search of his residence in Florida, deep fissures had been seen within the celebration’s help for regulation enforcement amid a federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s dealing with of high secret paperwork.

Immediately after the search, congressional Republicans, together with members of management, reacted with fury, attacking the nation’s high regulation enforcement companies. Some known as to “defund” or “destroy” the F.B.I., and others invoked the Nazi secret police, utilizing phrases like “gestapo” and “tyrants.”

More reasonable voices within the celebration chastised their colleagues for the broadsides towards regulation enforcement, making a extra restrained case for defending Mr. Trump whereas additionally finishing up oversight of the Justice Department.

Many Republicans known as for the discharge of the affidavit supporting the search warrant that was executed final Monday, which might element the proof that had persuaded a decide there was possible trigger to consider a search would discover proof of crimes. Such paperwork are usually not made public earlier than expenses are filed.

“It was an unprecedented action that needs to be supported by unprecedented justification,” Representative Brian Fitzpatrick, Republican of Pennsylvania and a former F.B.I. agent, mentioned on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” But he added, “I have urged all my colleagues to make sure they understand the weight of their words.”

The calls for a extra cautious tone got here as threats emerged towards regulation enforcement. A gunman on Thursday attacked an F.B.I. office in Cincinnati, and on Friday, the Department of Homeland Security distributed an intelligence bulletin to regulation enforcement across the nation that warned of “an increase in threats and acts of violence, including armed encounters, against law enforcement, judiciary and government personnel” after the search.

“The F.B.I. and D.H.S. have observed an increase in violent threats posted on social media against federal officials and facilities, including a threat to place a so-called dirty bomb in front of F.B.I. headquarters and issuing general calls for ‘civil war’ and ‘armed rebellion,’” mentioned the bulletin, which was obtained by The New York Times.

Adding to the sense of alarm, one other gunman crashed a automotive into a barricade exterior the Capitol round 4 a.m. on Sunday. After he exited the automotive and it turned engulfed in flames, he shot into the air a number of occasions earlier than killing himself, the Capitol Police mentioned.

Mr. Fitzpatrick mentioned he had begun checking in along with his former colleagues on the F.B.I. “to make sure they were OK.”

“We’re the world’s oldest democracy, and the only way that can come unraveled is if we have disrespect for institutions that lead to Americans turning on Americans,” he mentioned, including, “A lot of that starts with the words we’re using.”

Republicans have struggled to coalesce round a unified technique to answer the F.B.I.’s search of Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s house in Palm Beach, Fla., amid each day revelations and rapidly shifting explanations, excuses, defenses and false accusations by the previous president.

On Friday, a federal decide unsealed the warrant authorizing the search and a list of things faraway from the property by federal brokers. The checklist confirmed that the F.B.I. had retrieved 11 units of labeled paperwork as a part of an inquiry into potential violations of the Espionage Act and two different legal guidelines.

Some of the paperwork had been marked “classified/TS/SCI” — shorthand for “top secret/sensitive compartmented information.” Such info is supposed to be seen solely in a safe authorities facility.

Mr. Trump and his allies have argued that former President Barack Obama additionally mishandled paperwork (an allegation rapidly dismissed as false by the National Archives); that the decide who signed the warrant authorizing the search should have been biased; that the F.B.I. might need planted proof; that the paperwork had been coated by attorney-client or government privilege; and that Mr. Trump had declassified the paperwork.

The former president has labored to money in on the search.

Mr. Trump’s political motion committee has been furiously fund-raising off the F.B.I. search, sending out at the very least 17 textual content messages to donors since Tuesday. “The Dems broke into the home of Pres. Trump,” one learn. “This is POLITICAL TARGETING!” one other alleged. “THEY’RE COMING AFTER YOU!” a third mentioned.

Donald Trump Jr., the previous president’s son, wrote one other fund-raising e mail: “The witch hunt continues…The FBI’s raid of Mar-a-Lago was a DISGRACE. In fact, it’s UNFATHOMABLE.”

On Saturday, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, additionally called for the repeal of the Espionage Act, one of many statutes that prompted the investigation.

But the shifting explanations have made it tough for Republicans, lots of whom are desirous to please the previous president, to return along with a unified protection. They are divided about whether or not to assault the nation’s high regulation enforcement companies and the way aggressive to be in these assaults.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican whom the National Republican Congressional Committee is that includes in fund-raising appeals, has begun promoting merchandise that claims “Defund the F.B.I.”

That is a a lot totally different method from Representative Michael R. Turner of Ohio, the highest Republican on the Intelligence Committee, who defended Mr. Trump on Sunday.

Republicans on the committee have mentioned they proceed to help regulation enforcement. Still, they mentioned that robust questions remained for Attorney General Merrick B. Garland about his resolution to take the daring step of ordering a search of the previous president’s house, they usually promised to carry the Justice Department accountable.

“Clearly, no one is above the law,” Mr. Turner mentioned on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Donald Trump is not above the law. And Attorney General Garland is not above the law, either. And Congress has the powers of oversight. He needs to comply.”

Mr. Turner mentioned he had not been satisfied “whether or not this actually is classified material and whether or not it rises to the level of the highest classified material,” regardless of the paperwork launched by the court docket.

“I’d be very surprised if he has actual documents that rise to the level of an immediate national security threat,” Mr. Turner mentioned.

Two of the legal guidelines referred to within the search warrant, nonetheless, make the taking or concealment of presidency data a crime no matter whether or not they’re associated to nationwide safety. The third, which bars the unauthorized retention of fabric with restricted nationwide safety info, applies whether or not or not the fabric is classed.

The Republican leaders within the Senate and the House, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, have additionally mentioned that Mr. Garland wants to supply solutions.

Mr. Garland, for his half, held a information convention on Thursday defending the way in which the Justice Department has dealt with the case.

“Upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly, without fear or favor,” he mentioned. “Under my watch that is precisely what the Justice Department is doing.”

The White House, making an attempt to keep away from the looks of partisan interference, has been reluctant to touch upon the investigation. “We do not interfere. We do not get briefed,” Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, mentioned on ABC’s “This Week,” including, “We’re going to let Merrick Garland speak for himself and his department.”

But different Democrats instantly seized on Republicans’ anti-law enforcement statements.

“I thought in the old days the Republican Party used to stand with law enforcement,” Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, mentioned on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And I hope some of them do today because this kind of rhetoric is very dangerous to our country.”

She identified that when she evaluations labeled paperwork she should achieve this in a safe room. “I can’t even wear my Fitbit,” she mentioned.

Representatives Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York and the chairwoman of the Oversight Committee, have known as for the director of nationwide intelligence to conduct an “immediate review and damage assessment” and supply a labeled briefing to Congress in regards to the potential hurt finished to nationwide safety by Mr. Trump’s dealing with of paperwork.

“The fact that they were in an unsecure place that is guarded with nothing more than a padlock or whatever security they had at a hotel is deeply alarming,” Mr. Schiff mentioned on “Face the Nation.”

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, the highest Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, known as on his panel to scrutinize Mr. Garland’s actions.

“Never has a former president and potential political opponent to the sitting president been subject to such a search,” Mr. Portman mentioned in a assertion. “The attorney general and the F.B.I. should now demonstrate unprecedented transparency and explain to the American people why they authorized the raid.”

Senator Mike Rounds, Republican of South Dakota, took a related method.

“I’m not one of the individuals out there that says that, you know, ‘Immediately attack the F.B.I. or the Justice Department,’” he mentioned on “Meet the Press.”

“But,” he added, “I think it’s very important long term for the Justice Department, now that they’ve done this, that they show that this was not just a fishing expedition.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs contributed reporting.

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