Top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Turner, said The DOJ would be applying the law unfairly if it decided to charge President Donald Trump over his handling of classified information, after Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director Jim Comey escaped charges after mishandling such information.
“It would be incredibly unusual for the Department of Justice to decide—when they didn’t pursue former FBI Director Comey when they didn’t pursue Hillary Clinton, who had classified documents in her home with Bill Clinton, former president—to pursue President Trump over an issue with the archivist,” Turner said on Fox News.
Comey leaked classified information to his lawyers, which violated the Department of Justice (DOJ) policies, according to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
The department declined prosecution after Horowitz referred the matter to them.
Hillary Clinton sent classified materials using her personal email system. Still, the bureau said Clinton did not violate a law, arguing there was no evidence of her itent to violate the law and another like it, Comey said in 2016.
“In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts,” Comey said at the time.
“All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here,” Comey stated.
According to Comey’s original statement, Clinton’s handling of the information was “grossly negligent,” but he later changed his statement, describing the handling as “extremely careless,” Horowitz’s office later found (pdf).
Trump’s home in Florida was raided by FBI agents earlier this month. After Court filings were unsealed, officials said there was reason to believe Trump was violating laws, including using national defense information.
A redacted copy of the search warrant affidavit showed that agents relied heavily on finding classified materials, which were transferred from Mar-a-Lago to the U.S. archivist in Janaury.
The Biden-backed archivist later rejected Trump’s executive privilege claims, allowing FBI agents access to the materials.
FBI agents said there was probable cause to believe that other classified materials were being stored at Mar-a-Lago, which they claim made the raid necessary.
No National Security threat
But Turner said the affidavit was missing “some imminent national security threat that would justify raiding the president’s home” and that the DOJ could have opted for a different route like seeking enforcement of a subpoena they had for the documents.
Turner went on to note that no intelligence officials were cited in the unredacted portions of the affidavit, adding that the Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines indicated to him that her office was not formed until after the raid.
“This sounds more like a bookkeeping issue than [that] of a national security threat, which means it doesn’t rise to the level of justifying raiding the former president’s home,” Turner said.
When the FBI was asked if it consulted intelligence officials before the raid, they deferred comment to the DOJ.
But the DOJ did not immediately respond, and neither did Haines’s office.
Turner’s views on the raid echo many Republicans, while most Democrat lawmakers argue the raid was justified.
“The redacted affidavit makes clear Trump kept highly-classified national defense information at a public resort,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the Intelligence Committee’s chairman, said in a statement.
Schiff called for a national security damage assessment after calling the details “alarming.”