It didn’t take long for Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Eric Schmitt, senator-wannabe of the same state, to share their views on the FBI’s search of Donald Trump’s Florida home.
“The raid by Joe Biden’s FBI on the home of a former president who is also Biden’s chief political opponent is an unprecedented assault on democratic norms and the rule of law, Hawley tweeted. “Biden has taken our republic into dangerous waters.”
Later, he called for the removals of FBI director Christopher Wray, a Trump appointee, and Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Tuesday, Schmitt spent time on the pro-Trump bandwagon too. “The weaponization of Biden’s DOJ against political enemies is unprecedented,” he said in a tweet.
This is borderline hilarious, coming from a Missouri attorney general who has spent hundreds of thousands of tax dollars filing frivolous lawsuits for political gain. He sued China, a case dismissed by a judge named Limbaugh. He’s sued school districts. He’s sued the federal government over immigration.
He’s sued cities over COVID-19 rules. He’s sued to kill Obamacare. He’s sued to invalidate LGBTQ rights. And, of course, he joined a 2021 lawsuit aimed at throwing out the presidential votes of 7 million Pennsylvanians.
He’s also been fond of keeping innocent Black men in prison.
Virtually every lawsuit and legal challenge has collapsed in court, where Schmitt’s politicized shenanigans are quickly exposed. No matter: He has weaponized the Missouri attorney general’s office, to the state’s detriment.
Hawley? In 2017, as Missouri attorney general, he joined in a raid on massage parlors in Springfield, summoning the local press to a grandiose news conference. Some of the businesses were eventually shut down, but no felony charges were ever filed against anyone.
And who can forget his raised fist before the Jan. 6 insurrection? Or his leading the challenge against the certification of rightful Electoral College votes for Joe Biden? As the senator himself might put it, his actions represented an unprecedented assault on democratic norms, and the rule of law.
Every Missourian knows Hawley has weaponized his Senate office.
Let’s be clear: The FBI (or the state or local police) are never above scrutiny for their decisions, particularly when they search homes or businesses for evidence. We’ll want to see the rationale for the search of Trump’s home, including any affidavit filed to obtain the warrant.
Earlier this year, the National Archives and Records Administration said it had retrieved 15 boxes of White House records and other items stored at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property instead of at the National Archives. According to The Washington Post, which first reported the retrieval, keeping the boxes of records at Mar-a-Lago violated the Presidential Records Act, which mandates the preservation of all presidential records.
The former president enjoys the rights and protections afforded him under the law and the Constitution, and a presumption of innocence.
But that’s the point, isn’t it? Donald Trump must stand before the law just like any other private citizen. He is not above the law, or outside of it. He can claim no special exemption or protection if he has broken the law.
This simple fact seems beyond the reach of Josh Hawley, or Eric Schmitt.
The FBI search of Mar-a-Lago came 48 years to the day after former president Richard Nixon announced his resignation. Nixon, and Republicans, understood: in this country, even presidents must obey the law. He had broken the law, so he had to quit.
Trump, on the other hand, once claimed he could commit murder and not pay a political price. Hawley and Schmitt seem fine with that idea.