Two of Maryland’s top Republicans who are rarely on the same side are calling for broader transparency or denouncing the FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s home.
The statements were in response to the highly unusual search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida that has further fanned flames of political division nationally.
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, in a statement Tuesday, said the country “was already dangerously divided” before FBI agents searched Trump’s Florida home.
“These are unprecedented circumstances that require unprecedented transparency and accountability from our government institutions,” Hogan wrote in a statement on his social media channels.” The American people deserve to know all the facts as soon as possible, and I call on the Biden administration to release — at a minimum — the documents authorizing the FBI search.”
Federal agents armed with a search warrant descended on Trump’s home Monday.
The Associated Press, quoting sources familiar with the action, said the unusual search of a former president’s home was “part of an investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to his Florida residence.”
A search warrant does not suggest that criminal charges are near or even expected. Federal officials looking to obtain one must first demonstrate to a judge that they have probable cause to suspect that a crime occurred.
The former president confirmed the search in a statement issued Monday.
Biden and officials at the White House said they were unaware of a plan to search the home until it was publicly reported. So far, the FBI and Department of Justice have not publicly commented on the search or the ongoing investigation, which is separate from an investigation into the Jan. 6 uprising at the U.S. Capitol.
Hogan called for more transparency.
“If the federal government cannot ultimately provide overwhelming evidence that action was absolutely necessary, then it will only undermine faith in democracy and the rule of law, and further divide Americans,” Hogan said in his statement.
As the investigation intensifies, some Republicans are backing Trump.
Del. Dan Cox, the Republican nominee for governor, blasted the raid. He accused President Joseph Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Attorney General Merrick Garland of “using their offices for their own political weaponization against Republicans and our greatest President of the United States.”
“Presidents have plenary powers to declassify and keep papers,” Cox said in a statement on Facebook. “This FBI raid of Trump’s home is nothing short of communist stasi police state tactics. It has no place in any civilization and never in America. These current members of the administration are not above the law. Their own people are turning on them (approval down to 30%!!) as their lies are exposed and they continue to harm the country’s economy.”
The application for the search warrant was likely to have been approved by both Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray, who Trump appointed to the job five years ago.
Cox, an ardent Trump supporter, has been endorsed by the former president. Cox has repeatedly denied the results of the 202 election and called Vice President Mike Pence a traitor — which he later called “a poor choice of words” in a written apology to his legislative colleagues.
Cox, who unsuccessfully attempted to impeach Hogan over his pandemic policies, also attended the Jan. 6 rally where Trump spoke and organized buses for constituents to attend. He said he did not participate in the attempt to disrupt the Congress and its certification of the election results.
Democrats have used that endorsement and Cox’s involvement with busing supporters to the U.S. Capitol as a political cudgel in the 2022 Maryland campaign.
“Marylanders want a responsible leader who is focused on the issues that affect local families and communities, but Dan Cox blindly puts loyalty to Donald Trump and his harmful MAGA agenda above all else,” said Maryland Democratic Party spokesperson Ernest Bailey. “Cox’s primary concern is currying favor with a disgraced former president and touring the right-wing radio circuit. He has repeatedly shown that in times of crisis, he will seek to inflame tensions and feed into partisan divisions. That does nothing to solve the problems facing working families and is wrong for Maryland.”