Ohio Republican Representative Mike Turner was severely criticized after he suggested former Republican President Donald Trump was merely keeping classified material to write his "memoirs," in yet another example of excuses the GOP made for the former President, whose Mar-a-Lago estate was searched by federal agents earlier this month.
Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) combed through Mar-a-Lago on a hunt for classified materials Trump spirited away from the Oval Office in violation of federal laws and presidential protocol.
But to hear Turner tell it, Trump—who according to the FBI had about 20 boxes in his possession, including 11 sets marked as top secret or sensitive—needed the materials to write his memoirs because Presidents "don't have, you know, great recall of everything that's occurred in their administration."
You can hear what he said in the video below.
When asked what "use" Trump would have for classified information after leaving office, Turner said:
"Well, I don't know. I mean, you have to ask him."
"But certainly, we all know that every former president has access to their documents. It's how they write their memoirs."
"They don't have, you know, great recall of everything that's occurred in their administration."
Turner, who is the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, also said the affidavit supporting the FBI's search warrant for Mar-a-Lago "will give us the information to understand how did the FBI justify raiding Mar-a-Lago and spending nine hours in the President's house."
The Department of Justice (DOJ) opposes the release of details from the sworn affidavit describing the basis for the search.
United States Attorney Juan Gonzalez and Justice Department counterintelligence chief Jay Bratt said in a filing that releasing those details would compromise the ongoing criminal probe, writing the affidavit "would serve as a roadmap to the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, in a manner that is highly likely to compromise future investigative steps."
However, Trump has called for the affidavit to be released without any redactions and the Florida judge who approved the FBI's search warrant has instructed the DOJ to submit proposed redactions before deciding whether or not the affidavit can be released.
Turner's excuses for Trump were swiftly condemned.
Trump continues to face heavy scrutiny in the days since he alerted the world 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.
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 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.
But the classification of the documents' sensitivity is largely immaterial.
Trump was required to turn over all documents to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) when he vacated the White House. The NARA alerted the DoJ of his failure to do so.