On Monday Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago bunker was served a with search warrant by the FBI who were reportedly looking for classified documents that Trump unlawfully took from the White House and failed to disclose he still had. It is a crime that has serious implications for national security, as well as severe penalties for violators.
Ever since then, Trump’s Republican cult followers, and especially Fox News, have been throwing up all manner of preposterous defenses for Trump’s malfeasance. Much of their psychotic overreactions were drenched with accusations of wrongdoing by the FBI and threats of violence against law enforcement. They even unleashed a coordinated media attack baselessly alleging that the FBI planted evidence.
However, on Thursday there was an uncharacteristically sane segment on Fox and Friends wherein co-host Steve Doocy actually challenged the Republican House Minority Whip, Steve Scalise, while he was in the process of disseminating the GOP screed about the FBI operation in Palm Beach. Doocy started off by saying…
Doocy: There are a number of people, online and elsewhere, that are demonizing the FBI. And some Republicans. Paul Gosar, a Republican in your caucus from Arizona, said, “We must destroy the FBI. We must save America. I stand with Donald Trump.” Marjorie Taylor Greene said, “Defend [he meant defund] the FBI.” I’m just curious, whatever happened to the Republican Party backing the blue? And in particular, the 35 members of law enforcement at the FBI?
Scalise: We’re very strong supporters of law enforcement, and it concerns everybody to see some agents go rogue, and if you see an agency that doesn’t have the right checks and balances at the top. this is coming from the top
You may have noticed that, rather than answering Doocy’s question, Scalise invented some imaginary “concerns” that “everybody” is having about “rogue” FBI agents. And in the same breath he placed the blame, not on rogue agents, but on the people “at the top.” So Doocy pressed further…
Doocy: Who went rogue? They were following a search warrant.
Scalise: We want to find that out. That’s why we’re asking these questions. Because there were reports yesterday saying that Merrick Garland didn’t even know about this raid. I don’t if anybody believes that, but he should be asked under oath if he knew about the raid prior to it happening. He hasn’t answered that question. Why hasn’t he held a press conference? Why won’t President Biden talk about this? That is deafening right now, that silence.
Scalise is now flagrantly lying. The examples that Doocy gave of Gosar and Greene were not questions. They were overt statements advocating the destruction and/or defunding of the FBI. What’s more, there have been no reports that Attorney General Merrick Garland didn’t know about this raid. To the contrary, almost every report said that Garland, and FBI Director Chris Wray (a Trump appointee), would have almost certainly had to sign off on it.
Scalise then complains that Garland hasn’t talked about the search. But Scalise knows – or should know – that it would be improper for him to do so. The search warrant was issued under seal. And President Biden has correctly remained distanced from the Justice Department’s operations.
The only one who could have provided any additional data about this was Trump himself. He has a copy of the search warrant, and there is nothing stopping him from releasing it. Well, nothing except the likelihood that it contains something that would incriminate him.
At this point co-host Brian Kilmeade chirps in with the news that GOP Rep. Scott Perry had his cellphone seized by the FBI. And Scalise suggests that there is something untoward about the IRS getting funding to add more agents, who will only be working on high-income individuals and corporations. Both of those matters are obvious deflections that have nothing to do with the search at Mar-a-Lago. But Doocy brings the discussion back to the issue at hand saying…
Doocy: Steve, why not wait a week or so until we know more about this search warrant, then immediately rush to judgment and say, “Yeah, the FBI, they’re crazy.”
Scalise: We’re asking questions right now that no one is answering. We’re not hearing the FBI answer any of these questions. We’re not hearing Justice. And we’re sure not hearing the White House.
Once again, Scalise is not asking questions. And the people he wants to speak out are prohibited by law and ethics from doing so. But what’s truly remarkable about this exchange is that Doocy was the one introducing a rational perspective to the discussion. It would be too soon to assume that there has been any change in Fox’s editorial stance on these matters. They are, after all, the ones who have been ranting about the FBI planting evidence. But it is sufficiently peculiar to keep an eye on.
"Whatever happened to the Republican Party backing the blue?" — Steve Doocy to Steve Scalise pic.twitter.com/rqCQrrBy6n
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 11, 2022
UPDATE: AG Garland held a press conference Thursday afternoon to announce that the Justice Department will make a motion to unseal parts of the search warrant, so that they can be made public. That should make Scalise happy. Or, more likely, just make him have to contrive a different set of lies to cast aspersions on the FBI, law enforcement, the President, and to absolve his messiah Trump of any wrongdoing.
Garland noted that the Department of Justice intended the search to be conducted quietly, but it was Trump who made it a public spectacle. And when the warrant is made public like Republicans and Fox News have wanted, they will learn why it’s important to be careful what you wish for. You may just get it.
Attorney General Merrick Garland on FBI's search of former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago home: "I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter." pic.twitter.com/h3Ek1vCaAx
— CSPAN (@cspan) August 11, 2022
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