PALM BEACH, Fla. - The FBI search at Mar-a-Lago has drawn strong reactions among Florida politicians. Many Republicans are criticizing the surprise raid while Democrats applauded the move and took aim at certain GOP leaders.
Starting at the top, Governor Ron DeSantis didn’t hold back. He took to Twitter to voice his response, sharing in part, "The raid of MAL is another escalation in the weaponization of federal agencies against the Regime’s political opponents, while people like Hunter Biden get treated with kid gloves."
Senator Rick Scott also chimed in on Twitter:
Senator Marco Rubio shared two separate posts on Twitter, one of which states, "The FBI isn’t doing anything about the groups vandalizing Catholic Churches, firebombing Pro-Life groups or threatening Supreme Court justices. But they find time to raid Mar A Lago."
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody also weighed in on the raid, speaking on Ingraham Angle on FOX News. She said she was not notified beforehand.
"It is certainly unusual, and I tell you what, the charges, if there are any, the allegations, this better be a rock solid case to wreck whatever respect there is right now for the FBI," she said.
On the other side of the aisle, gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist has been vocal as well. Tuesday, he released a statement saying that "no one is above the law, not even a former president." He went on to address Gov. DeSantis' response.
His full statement is below:
"In the United States of America, no one is above the law, not even a former President."
"Governor DeSantis’s knee-jerk partisan response to this law enforcement action proves yet again he is more interested in playing politics than seeking justice or the rule of law."
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is also running for the Democratic nomination in the gubernatorial race, responded to DeSantis' statement on Twitter:
The FBI searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate as part of an investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to his Florida residence, people familiar with the matter said Monday, a move that represents a dramatic and unprecedented escalation of law enforcement scrutiny of the former president.
Trump, disclosing the search in a lengthy statement, asserted that agents had opened up a safe at his home and described their work as an "unannounced raid" that he likened to "prosecutorial misconduct."
The search intensifies the months-long probe into how classified documents ended up in more than a dozen boxes located at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year. It occurs amid a separate grand jury investigation into efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and adds to the potential legal peril for Trump as he lays the groundwork for another run.
"These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents," Trump wrote. "Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before."
"After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate," Trump said in his statement.
Justice Department spokesperson Dena Iverson declined to comment on the search, including about whether Attorney General Merrick Garland had personally authorized it.
Trump did not elaborate on the basis for the search, but the Justice Department has been investigating the potential mishandling of classified information after the National Archives and Records Administration said it had retrieved from Mar-a-Lago 15 boxes of records containing classified information earlier this year. The National Archives said Trump should have turned over that material upon leaving office, and it asked the Justice Department to investigate.
Two people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said the search happened earlier Monday and was related to the records probe. Agents were also looking to see if Trump had additional presidential records or any classified documents at the estate.