OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw weighed in on the FBI’s raid of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate earlier this month and he did not mince his words.
The U.S. Navy SEAL and Texas Republican vet mocked the Justice Department’s reported reasoning for the operation — that Trump may have had highly sensitive nuclear weapons secrets in his possession, forcing the FBI’s actions.
In an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Crenshaw also said that the FBI’s actions were extreme in order to obtain classified documents from Trump’s estate, given reports that the former president had been cooperating with federal investigators for months before the raid.
He also completely discounted the notion that Trump had taken top secret nuclear weapons materials with him after he left the White House.
“I’m not one to withhold criticism and even make my own side mad,” Crenshaw noted. “I want to get to the truth. But I will be honest with you here, this…it’s hard to justify what the Department of Justice did here, in my opinion.”
“Here’s what it really boils down to. It’s not a question that it’s bad to have classified material in a non-SCIF [Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility] environment. That’s a non-secret compartmentalized infrastructure there. That’s wrong,” he continued. “But there’s ways to mitigate that, there’s ways to resolve that issue. And I still haven’t seen any evidence that Trump was even asked to give these documents back.”
“He’s been cooperating with them on these issues for a while now, for months. And so, why take it to extreme extent? And I think that’s why you’re seeing so much backlash from Republicans,” the Texas congressman continued.
“You’re seeing everyone coalesce. It doesn’t matter what side of the issue they’re on with Trump, we’ve seen a lot coalesce around this one because it does seem unjust and there does seem to be a long history of loss of credibility at the Department of Justice at the hands of Democrats. And I think people are rightful rightfully frustrated about that,” he added.
“This is a very unprecedented measure. And you know that when you are going after an ex-president who may run again, this is automatically political. You cannot separate the legal aspects of this from the political aspects of it. You can’t. And it doesn’t seem to me they’ve acted responsibly as a result of that,” he noted further.
Host Jake Tapper responded by noting that at least one of the former president’s attorneys had previously signed a statement to the Justice Department attesting that all classified materials had been returned to the federal government.
“Lawyers did sign that document that they have nothing left,” Crenshaw said in response. “Now, that’s either a huge mistake on the lawyers, but even if it’s nefarious, then why not say, ‘Hey we don’t believe you, now let us come back, let’s go through these boxes again’ … Do any of us really believe Donald Trump is reading nuclear secrets at his bedside at night?”
Following the raid, Trump appeared to be aware that it created new political friction in an already deeply divided country, noting that he wanted to do something about it.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News, the former president pledged he “will do whatever” he can “to help the country,” adding that he understands the “temperature has to be brought down.”
However, he also noted that tens of millions of Americans are “not going to stand for another scam.”
“The country is in a very dangerous position. There is tremendous anger like I’ve never seen before, over all of the scams, and this new one—years of scams and witch hunts, and now this,” Trump told the outlet.
“If there is anything we can do to help, I, and my people, would certainly be willing to do that,” said the former president in his Fox News interview.
“There has never been a time like this where law enforcement has been used to break into the house of a former president of the United States, and there is tremendous anger in the country—at a level that has never been seen before, other than during very perilous times,” Trump said, adding that his representatives have yet to hear back from Biden’s DOJ after reaching out.
“I think they would want the same thing—I’ve never seen anything like this,” Trump said. “It is a very dangerous time for our country.”
“I will do whatever I can to help the country,” he continued.