Fox News personality Steve Doocy sparred with Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul over the Republican Party's "violent rhetoric" toward the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after its agents combed through former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate on a hunt for classified materials Trump had spirited away from the Oval Office in violation of federal laws and presidential protocol.
Doocy—one of the reliably pro-Trump mainstays on "Fox and Friends"—has consistently defended the FBI since the search against GOP claims that it was little more than a political hit job.
Doocy promptly called out Paul, who seemed dismissive about violent threats that have been leveled at FBI agents since the search was conducted last week. It was a striking break from the typical Fox News script, which has often been characterized by excessively flattering and deferential coverage of the former President.
You can watch their exchange in the video below.
It all began when Paul defended Trump against what he characterized as governmental overreach, saying that those in charge "have a different understanding, maybe, of what they think the FBI can and cannot do and how it should be used on Americans."
"I'm going to require proof that there was actually some sort of probable cause of a crime, and I'm suspicious that there was not."
Although Doocy agreed with Paul that "Congress has oversight over the FBI and the Department of Justice and everything else," he was quick to point out that "violent rhetoric" has consequences:
"The problem is over the last week or so there's been so much violent rhetoric directed at the FBI and I heard somebody printed FBI stands for Fascist Bureau of Investigation or something like that."
"And unfortunately, now the people who work at the FBI headquarters, you know, there are death threats and all sorts of stuff."
"I heard from a staff member there who's talking to a colleague at the FBI and the colleague realized, 'Oh look I'm wearing the wrong shoes today to work because if somebody comes and attacks the building and I've got to run, I can't run in these heels.'"
"So unfortunately, people at the FBI are caught in the crosshairs."
Many have also criticized Paul and the Republican Party at large since his exchange with Doocy went viral.
Trump continues to face heavy scrutiny in the days since he alerted the world that the FBI had executed a search warrant for his Mar-a-Lago estate.
In the days since the search, sources said Trump was in possession of classified material—including nuclear secrets—that prompted the intelligence community to voice concerns about national security and the possibility classified government secrets could prove a boon to foreign adversaries and even allies.
Trump has hit back at suggestions he broke federal government policy regarding classified documents.
Additionally, his claims he had the ability to declassify any and all classified documents or information have been widely disputed by experts who've noted there is a specific federal process that must be adhered to before any information can be declassified.