Former White House national security adviser John Bolton said Wednesday there was “no evidence” the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate was a partisan overreach, breaking with many GOP lawmakers that have rushed to condemn the event as a political attack.
Bolton, who served under Trump until he was ousted in 2019, made the comments in an interview with Reuters, saying the investigation into documents seized from the resort should run its course before jumping to conclusions.
“There is no evidence there is a partisan motive here,” Bolton told Reuters. “I think everybody just ought to calm down, whether you’re pro-Trump or anti-Trump, and let the process work its way through.”
The Justice Department has so far resisted efforts to have the affidavit used to obtain the search warrant be unsealed, a step Bolton also said he agreed with.
“I think Trump in fact knows they don’t want it released, which is why it’s easy for him to call for it to be released because he knows it’s not going to happen,” he said.
FBI agents conducted a search of Trump’s Florida estate earlier this month amid reports he had improperly taken sensitive material with him when he left the White House. The Justice Department later said it recovered 11 sets of classified material and a search warrant unsealed by a federal judge said the former president was under investigation for possible violations of the Espionage Act.
The Washington Post reported at the time the government was concerned highly classified documents related to nuclear weapons may have been among the items in Trump’s possession.
Republicans immediately went ballistic, with some saying the FBI should be defunded and others pledging to retaliate against the Justice Department should the GOP win control of either chamber of Congress later this year. Rather than focus on the documents seized from Trump’s winter home, many lawmakers echoed the former president’s own fury that the step was an unprecedented political attack.
Bolton has issued sharp words towards Trump in recent days. He told The New York Times the former president was “almost certainly” lying when he insisted he had a “standing order” that everything taken to his home was automatically declassified.
“I was never briefed on any such order, procedure, policy when I came in,” Bolton told the publication. “If he were to say something like that, you would have to memorialize that, so that people would know it existed.”