Republican House Representative Chip Roy of Texas demanded Wednesday that his Democratic colleagues unite with the GOP in demanding access to the full affidavit used in the FBI’s investigation into Donald Trump.
He accused Democrats who opposed it of being “against transparency” and “coverage” for the FBI during a heated House Judiciary hearing.
That affidavit was used to obtain an injunction that cleared the way for federal agents to raid the former president’s Mar-a-Lago mansion in early August.
“What the hell are my colleagues afraid of seeing the full unedited version?” Roy asked during the hearing.
“The American people are tired of seeing government power being used against them.”
He continued, “As a former federal prosecutor to a U.S. Attorney General, I have absolute respect for the many men and women I worked with in pursuit of bad guys—something I wish my Democratic colleagues would do more often, by the way.”
“But the power centralized in the FBI under the United States Attorney General that is used to attack American citizens is something that…the People’s House Judiciary Committee should be deeply concerned on a bipartisan basis to trying to protect.’
Justice Department officials retrieved classified documents from the Florida property that Trump was forced to leave at the White House when he left office last January.
GOP Rep. Chip Roy of Texas broke out with his colleagues across the aisle on Wednesday over what he says is a lack of “transparency” on the part of Democrats and the DOJ about the FBI’s unannounced search for Mar-a-Lago.
But Republicans have called for greater transparency in what led up to the raid, citing the extraordinary circumstance of such a law enforcement action against a former commander in chief.
They have also accused Attorney General Merrick Garland of arming the Justice Department against President Joe Biden’s political rival — whom he may face again in 2024.
Trump and his allies have called for the full affidavit to be released as a matter of public interest.
But others on the right, such as Roy, who are familiar with the inner workings of law enforcement, have raised concerns about national security and have called for members of Congress to at least educate themselves on the matter.
“We’re sitting here right now and just want to see the entirety of an affidavit so we can do our duty of oversight, our job. If there’s any concern about us not being seen by the public, we can march down to the… [secure facility] and now go and see the completely unedited version,’ he offered.
Roy also claimed that “the power of the FBI can be, and often is, used to destroy lives.”
The FBI took about 20 boxes of files from Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8, including one set marked “Miscellaneous Classified/TS/SCI Documents.”
Federal agents seized about 20 boxes of documents from Trump’s Florida mansion
Some of the documents he kept there, including in his desk, were among the highest classification marks and should not have been removed from the White House, according to the DOJ.
That label is reserved for an extremely high level of secrecy, including information from human intelligence sources that could threaten the lives of those sources if put in the wrong hands.
The unsealed warrant used by the FBI shows Trump is under investigation for possible Espionage Act violations and obstruction of justice, among other charges related to his handling of classified documents.
New parts of the affidavit were unsealed by a judge on Tuesday, though the contents for the most part remain under seal.
New information includes that between January 10 and June 24, the Department of Justice searched Mar-a-Lago for “all surveillance records, videos, images, photos … from internal cameras.”
On Sunday, Mark Warner, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, a Virginia Democrat, said he expects to be informed of what Mar-a-Lago law enforcement has taken.
‘[L]we remember what’s at stake, and I don’t know what’s in these documents. But if these documents contain human intelligence, human lives could be lost if revealed. If it signals intelligence, things we’ve worked on for years can be destroyed,” Warner told CNN’s State of the Union Address.
“If that information shared among allies was somehow exposed in these documents — therefore getting to the bottom of this and making a damage assessment — the DOJ effort, we have no jurisdiction over that, but the damage assessment for our intelligence capabilities is critical that we have.’