Politics

Republicans Gear Up For Oversight Battle Over FBI’s Raid Of Mar-A-Lago

(Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
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The FBI’s Aug. 8 raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence will kick Republicans’ oversight efforts into overdrive in the 118th Congress, with officials in both chambers sending document preservation and briefing requests to executive agencies.

Republicans are already promising extensive investigations into Hunter Biden, the origins of COVID-19, and the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) actions stemming from a letter sent by the National School Boards Association. However, those probes will likely pale in comparison to the GOP’s review of the FBI’s investigation into Trump.

Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, a member of the Oversight Committee, told the Daily Caller in a recent interview that he would be “shocked” if DOJ officials appear before the House ahead of the November midterms. Republicans have repeatedly raised the issue of Democrats’ refusal to hold oversight hearings addressing issues like immigration and education.

“Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to do oversight of this administration, that’s crystal clear,” Donalds said. “None of this has happened, I doubt it’s going to happen before November.”

Republicans on the Oversight Committee issued a document preservation request to the National Archives on Aug. 10, telling Acting Archivist Debra Wall to prepare to turn over any correspondences between the National Archives and the DOJ, as well as any records related to Trump’s presidential papers. Trump is being investigated for alleged mishandling of classified documents, as well as violations of the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice. Attorney General Merrick Garland personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant.

“They need to hold all their evidence, we need to see all of it, and hold hearings accordingly,” Donalds said of the preservation requests in the interview.

Donalds expects the search to help his party in the November midterms, with Republicans campaigning against the investigation and in favor of oversight of the Bureau more generally. A poll conducted by The Trafalgar Group and Convention of States found that more than 80% of Republicans and more than 70% of Independents say they are more likely to vote in the November midterms as a result of the raid.

“Voters are already enthusiastic about going to vote. All this is going to do is add fuel to the fire,” Donalds explained in the interview. “The voters have had enough, they’ve seen enough. They’re obviously going to want to make some major changes.”

“There are going to be a lot of members who are going to want to seek impeachment of Garland and Wray,” Donalds noted. “The question is, ‘can you get it through the Senate?’ I’m looking for the civil libertarian Democrats. And where are they?” he asked. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Ron Johnson Calls For FBI, DOJ Employees To Come Forward With Info On Mar-A-Lago Trump Raid)

Democrats have been more circumspect in their reaction to the investigation, although many have asked for briefings about the alleged classified documents the Department of Justice seized from Mar-a-Lago. Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Marco Rubio of Florida, the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, submitted a letter to Garland and the Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines requesting information about the DOJ’s rationale for the raid. The senators also requested an assessment of the threat posed by the alleged mishandling.

Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff of California and Carolyn Maloney of New York requested a similar briefing from Haines for the House Intelligence and Oversight committees.

“Even as the Justice Department’s investigation proceeds, ensuring that we take all necessary steps to protect classified information and mitigate the damage to national security done by its compromise is critically important,” the two Democrats said in the letter.