It’s a wonder sometimes that some Republicans manage to get through the day without tripping over their own feet, in the wake of an unprecedented and likely illegal raid of the home of a former President of the United States, with boxes full of documents and sundry, other items hauled away by FBI personnel.
Case in point, when Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) appeared on “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” Sunday, and of course the former Bill Clinton administration senior adviser led off with a question about Donald Trump, asking:
You heard former President Trump in Pierre’s piece saying he did nothing wrong. Are you in agreement with this statement? Did he have the right to send these documents to Mar-a-Lago.
Blunt’s talking point here, as you’ll hear in the clip below, is that Senate Republicans are taking “this so-called raid or seizing of these documents” from former President Donald Trump’s home Take it very seriously.
To be pressed by @GStephanopoulosWhether it was appropriate for the former President. Trump to take classified documents to Mar-a-Lago, GOP Sen. Roy Blunt says, “He should have turned the documents over.”
“I imagine he knows that very well know.” https://t.co/JGBmnO3wk7 pic.twitter.com/dSZBOwitb1
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) August 28, 2022
How do we know they’re taking it seriously, readers? Blunt says he and several other members of the Intelligence Committee wrote a sternly worded letter
….to the Justice Department and the director of national intelligence to say if there is a problem, why haven’t you told us about that problem?
He then plods along with the response they got from the DNI, that “the director of national intelligence announced I think on Friday that she’s going to be briefing the committee soon and then we’ll know what the problem is.” Unfortunately, as my colleague Nick Arama wrote earlier on Sunday, the process being contemplated by the DNI might not be all that kosher:
The FBI conducted a fishing expedition raid and now, they’re going to have a Biden appointee, a protege of former CIA head John Brennan, walk her way through the Trump documents that may include privileged information. Even worse is the FBI going through them. A political appointee is going to be the one to determine how “damaging” the documents are. That sounds fair. What will be the best way to know if FISA documents, or any other document that could have been harmful for the government may not disappear on their own?
It’s the same weak reaction we saw from many other Republicans, as we’re covered. But the interview got even worse, since Stephanopoulos was still pressing to get the soundbite leftists will be drooling over for months — and possibly years. It’s the kind of quote they dream of using as a cudgel against Trump and any other Republican who supports him, in campaign ads and on flyers across the country. Blunt, other than the passing mention of Jamey Comey and Hillary Clinton, eventually succumbs to the pressure.
Here’s the way it went:
STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s a fair point and we’ll find out why they weren’t or what was going on. They did it probably in order to keep the criminal investigation from being hacked.
That aside, the question is: Was it legal for the president, regardless of whether these documents are classified or not, to take the government documents that he was supposed to hand over to Mar-a-Lago’s National Archives?
BLUNT: It was — you should be careful with classified documents. I’ve had access to documents like that for a long time. I’m incredibly careful.
While listening to this discussion, I wondered what the same statements were made when Secretary Clinton held documents. When Director Comey held documents, they stored them on the Internet, which is more risky than having them in an actual box.
But everybody needs to be more careful about how these documents —
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator, you’re still not answering —
BLUNT: We need to be sure we don’t characterize them differently.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, you’re still not — you’re not answering the question. Your criticism of Senator Clinton was that she actually handed over everything, all her files. This is an example of a president who did not hand over the documents.
Can you say whether that was right — or right or wrong? Is it right that President Obama took those documents to Mar-a-Lago, or do you disagree?
BLUNT. He should have handed over the documents and apparently had done so with a lot of them, George. What I wonder about is why this could go on for almost two years and less than 100 days before the election, suddenly, we’re talking about this rather than the economy or inflation or even the student loan program you and I were going to talk about today?
While it may sound harsh to say this, friends like these make the best enemies.