Arkansas Gov.: ‘If the GOP Is Going to Be the Party of Supporting Law Enforcement, Law Enforcement Includes the FBI’

Melanie Arter | August 22, 2022 | 4:02pm EDT
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Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson speaks to the press after a meeting of the National Governors' Association with US President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2022. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said last week that the GOP shouldn’t blame the FBI agents who raided Mar-a-Lago, because they were just doing their job and carrying out “a lawful search warrant that a magistrate signed off on.”

“Well, if the GOP is going to be the party of supporting law enforcement, law enforcement includes the FBI. As a United States attorney, I work with the FBI, the DEA, the federal law enforcement agencies. Those folks on the ground do extraordinarily heroic efforts to enforce our rule of law, which is fundamental to the Republican Party and to our democracy,” he told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“The FBI is part of that, and so, yes, we need to pull back on casting judgment on them. No doubt that they have -- higher-ups in the FBI has made mistakes. They do it. I have defended cases as well, and I have seen wrong actions, but we cannot say that, whenever they went in and did that search, that they were not doing their job as law enforcement officers,” Hutchinson said.

“If you want to hold people accountable, it is the Department of Justice. It is the attorney general, who said he supervised that. The FBI is simply carrying out their responsibilities under the law, a lawful search warrant that a magistrate signed off on, and they didn't go in there with FBI raid jackets,” the governor said.

“They tried to constrain their behavior carrying out that warrant. So, let's be -- let's support law enforcement. Let's stand with them. Whether it's the DEA, the FBI, or your local law enforcement. That's critically important that we do that, because they're simply trying to do their job and to keep anarchy away from our country,” he added.

When asked whether he’s alarmed that former President Donald Trump had “highly classified material at his unsecured resort,“ Hutchinson said, “Sure. I'm concerned about it, and I understand the need to retrieve those documents.

“There's a lot of facts, as Congressman Turner pointed out, that we do not have yet, and the biggest question is why and how. Why were those documents there? Why did the White House believe that they wanted them there, presumably, if that was the case? And so those facts have to be determined, and so the American public is operating without sufficient information,” he said.

“I think we all have to take a deep breath and say we're going to have to wait to see the facts that come out. There is some urgency in it, because this is unprecedented, the search of a former president's home,” the governor said.

“The American public wants to understand that, and, right now, you mentioned the circling of the wagons around Donald Trump, and it's simply because they see the establishment is going after Donald Trump, and they question whether that was the right move and whether there was less intrusive means to accomplish the same purpose,” Hutchinson said.

“We're going to have to be a little patient. The attorney general did the right thing by getting information out this week, some information. I actually encouraged him to release the affidavit in redacted form, but that would provide and shed more information on why this search might have been necessary and explain the probable cause that the judge saw whenever he signed the search warrant,” he added.

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