Confronting Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) in a contentious interview on Tuesday over the FBI raid of former President Donald Trump’s home, CNN anchor Pamela Brown repeatedly questioned the Republican lawmaker on his apparent double standard on investigations into Democrats.
Besides pointing out Turner’s seemingly hypocritical stance on ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Brown pressed the Ohio congressman over his suggestion that the raid was politically motivated. Turner accused Brown of “trying to put words in my mouth.”
Republicans and right-wing media have had a full-blown meltdown over the unprecedented raid of the ex-president’s Mar-a-Lago Florida estate, calling for the FBI to be defunded while claiming the execution of the search warrant was “Third World bullshit” and worse than Pearl Harbor.
The search is reportedly part of an investigation into Trump improperly taking classified documents from the White House after he left office. The National Archives already retrieved 15 boxes of information earlier this year, and The Wall Street Journal reported federal agents seized an additional 10 boxes on Monday.
Turner, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, kicked off his CNN interview on Tuesday afternoon by adopting much of the same rhetoric as his GOP colleagues. Brown, however, seemed prepared for many of his talking points.
“We have two standards where we have Hillary Clinton, with her own computer system and classified information on it, being given a subpoena and the ability to go through that server to see whether or not it’s personal material or official material,” Turner insisted. “And this president, president, not a secretary of state, being raided. Clearly, two different standards, and we want to know why.”
The CNN host pointed out that the congressman had previously been “outraged” about Clinton’s handling of classified information and emails, adding that he said at the time she should be held “accountable” for her “extremely careless” actions.
“So why don’t you share that same concern with Donald Trump, who is now a private citizen, taking 15 boxes of documents from the White House, including classified documents, to his private residence?” Brown asked. “Why was it concerning for you with Hillary Clinton and not now with Donald Trump?”
Turner asserted these “are two different things” because Clinton has “classified communications traveling through her computer server in her house” while we “don’t really know” if Trump is in possession of classified or sensitive documents.
“That’s why the FBI director needs to tell the American public, what did he go after,” he continued. “There must be something higher on the national security level for him to do this. Remember, President Trump has more classified material in his head than he’s going to have in his desk. But yet they raided his home to see what he had in his desk. I think the American public wants answers.”
Retorting that the FBI “executed a search warrant that was signed off by a judge who clearly found probable cause,” Brown then observed that there were at least 25 examples of Trump attempting to weaponize the DOJ to go after his political rivals.
“So why do you feel like there should be more scrutiny now on the DOJ and not also… share that same concern back then when Trump was trying to go after his political rivals?” Brown asked.
“I have shared it,” Turner insisted before adding: “This goes back to the Obama-Biden administration… where they began the politicization of the FBI and of the Department of Justice.”
Eventually, after once again flagging Trump’s record of politicizing the DOJ that Republicans appeared to have no problems with, Brown wondered aloud if Turner’s problem is “with how the criminal justice system works.” The Ohio lawmaker said the issue is that Trump is likely to run again in 2024, meaning he is “an absolute political rival” of President Joe Biden.
“I want to be clear here,” Brown interjected. “What you were trying to say here is you believe that the Justice Department under President Biden is trying to go after his political rival Donald Trump because of 2024? Is that what you’re trying to say here?”
Turner snarled back: “No, Pamela. I didn’t say that. Thanks for trying to put words in my mouth!”
The CNN anchor, for her part, said she was not attempting to mischaracterize him but merely “trying to clarify.”
Turner defended his position by citing former Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who tweeted on Tuesday that the raid “must be more than a search for inconsequential archives or it will be viewed as a political tactic.” Cuomo, whose brother was fired from CNN amid fallout over his sexual harassment scandal, resigned as governor in disgrace last year.