By Emily Jacobs, Weekend News Editor
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu called President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland “morons” for not responding to Republican outrage over the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
Sununu, a Republican, made the comments after being asked in an interview on Fox News Sunday what he made of the fierce backlash from his party to the unprecedented FBI raid earlier this month. The governor, who has emerged as somewhat of a Trump critic in recent months, called the lack of transparency surrounding the need for such a search of a former president’s home “infuriating” while scolding Biden and Garland for not having a plan to keep the probe from appearing so politicized.
“I think the biggest issue is what we’ve all been talking about: the fact that when you’re going to go into a former president’s house, yet clearly, Biden and Garland, they had no strategy, no anticipation about saying, ‘We’re going to take unprecedented action so we better have an unprecedented plan for disclosure,'” Sununu told the network. “And the fact that we’re weeks in now, they’re not showing any cards, they’re not showing anything. The lack of transparency, it’s infuriating. And that is where they have absolutely blown it, and that’s where they’ve lost the trust of the American people, because it just looks political.”
The GOP governor added that while he understands the FBI and Justice Department not wanting to divulge information related to an active investigation, “that should have been thought out before” the warrant on Trump’s Florida estate was carried out.
“If they didn’t anticipate this type of response from the American people, well, they’re morons,” Sununu said. “They really are. They’re absolute fools. Because you cannot walk into a former president’s home, raid his home like that, and then say, ‘Well, we’ll get back to you later.’ Not acceptable to the American people.”
Sununu also said he agreed with former Vice President Mike Pence’s decision to blast fellow Republicans who had begun calling to defund the FBI in the wake of the raid. Pence made the comments while in New Hampshire this week, saying such a message is “just as wrong as calls to defend the police.”
Sununu said Pence was “absolutely right,” adding: “We’re Republicans. We support law enforcement every single time. But the strategy at the top has been a disaster, and [Democrats] have to own that.”
The FBI search was related to boxes of documents Trump brought back with him to his Florida resort after leaving office. The National Archives and Records Administration said some presidential records in 15 boxes obtained from Mar-a-Lago earlier this year included materials marked as classified.
Trump has not been charged in the incident, and the investigation into the handling of White House documents is underway. However, the warrant detailed possible violations of several U.S. statutes. The former president rejected reports indicating that the FBI obtained multiple sets of classified information from the Florida resort, saying that the files he possessed were “all declassified.”
Regardless of if Trump is charged or not, the incident has unified many Republicans around the belief that there is a double standard in the FBI with regard to how it treats political figures of different parties. Garland has faced specific criticism over his and the Justice Department’s handling of the search in recent weeks, including from Trump foes.
After days of silence following the raid, Garland revealed he personally approved the search of Trump’s Florida resort, and the Justice Department agreed to unseal the search warrant. This past week, however, the DOJ began fighting against the release of the affidavit justifying the search.