Hogan sidesteps questions on if Trump FBI search was ‘political witch hunt’
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Sunday said he isn’t satisfied with the current level of transparency regarding the FBI’s search of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property, but sidestepped questioning about whether he agrees with fellow Republicans who allege the move was politically motivated.
“Many Republicans believe this is a political effort to harm and tarnish the reputation of former President Trump. Do you agree with them? And do you think the government has been transparent enough in this extraordinary set of events?” chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett asked Hogan on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“It is an extraordinary set of events. It’s never happened before with a former president and so the very first day I– I called for more transparency,” Hogan replied.
The Republican governor lauded Attorney General Merrick Garland making brief but public comments on the case against Trump as well as the release of an affidavit by the Justice Department justifying the FBI search.
“But we still don’t know a whole lot. I mean, most of it was redacted. It didn’t give us a lot of color. And so I think some Republicans are saying without you showing us more to it, we don’t- we think it may be political,” Hogan said without clarifying if he was among those posing such questions about the investigation’s motives.
A noted Trump critic within the Republican party, Hogan separated himself after the search from Republicans “just reacting, just defending” the former president. He’s said the search was justified, but has been vocal in calling for transparency on the matter from federal authorities.
An unsealed warrant indicates Trump is under investigation for possible violations of the Espionage Act and other laws in relation to documents kept at Mar-a-Lago after the end of his presidential term, including 11 sets of classified material recovered by the FBI during its search of Trump’s Florida resort earlier this month.
The affidavit used to apply for the Mar-a-Lago search warrant was released in redacted form last week but revealed that authorities recovered 184 classified documents from the property.
“On the one hand, it could be, as some Republicans think, just, you know, just a political witch hunt. On the other hand, it could be really serious, you know, federal felonies. We don’t know that yet,” Hogan said.
Pressed on whether he sides with Republicans who believe the probe into Trump’s document handling is a witch hunt, Hogan said not enough information has been released, but hinted at some trust that the FBI had justifications for the investigation.
“I don’t know that we have enough information yet. I think– it’s hard to believe that the Justice Department, the FBI, would take steps unless they had something pretty serious that they were investigating. We just don’t know the facts yet,” Hogan said.