The White House said Sunday that Republican allegations that the Biden administration politicized the Justice Department were “not true at all” after the FBI raided former President Donald Trump’s resort in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, August 8.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made the comments on Sunday, telling ABC’s Jonathan Karl that the search was conducted as part of an independent Justice Department investigation, adding that President Joe Biden had only learned of it at the same time as the American public.
“When the president appointed Merrick Garland, he was very clear about that,” Jean-Pierre said. “He said he believed in the rule of law. Merrick Garland would not be the president’s attorney; he would not be the vice-president’s lawyer; it’s about the American people and doing what’s right for the American people. The Department of Justice, in law enforcement, is independent. That’s what we believe, and that’s what the president said. It’s not about politicizing anything. »
Republicans are left on scorched earth after the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago in a shocking move against a former US president on Monday amid reports that Trump and his aides made off with boxes of classified material. Some GOP lawmakers vowed retaliation against the DOJ after the raid, effectively suggesting that Trump should be above the law in his role as former president.
A federal judge unsealed the search warrant and property receipt on Friday amid criticism from Republicans, showing the former president is being investigated for possibly violating the Espionage Act. Officers removed approximately 20 boxes of materials from the residence, including 11 sets of classified documents. The Washington Post reported a day earlier that the government fears highly classified material related to nuclear weapons may be among the items in Trump’s possession.
The White House has largely declined to comment on the Justice Department’s investigations into the Mar-a-Lago documents, and Jean-Pierre stressed that the Biden administration will remain silent while the investigation continues.
“We don’t intervene. We are not informed,” she said on Sunday. “The Department of Justice, again, when it comes to law enforcement matters, they are independent, completely independent. And I’m just not going to comment on that. None of us will, because we’ll let Merrick Garland speak for himself and his department.
Jean-Pierre said any attempt by Republicans to criticize Biden’s role ignores the fact that FBI chief Christopher Wray was appointed by Trump himself in 2017.
“I would remind our folks across the way,” Jean-Pierre said, “that the director of the FBI was appointed by the president’s predecessor.”