Conservative evangelical leaders denounce FBI raid on Trump home

Residence of former US President Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago, Palm Beach, Florida on August 9, 2022. Trump said on August 8, 2022 that his Mar-A-Lago residence in Florida was “looted” by agents of the FBI in what he called an act of “prosecutory misconduct”. (Photo by Giorgio Viera/AFP) (Photo by GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images) |

Conservative Christian leaders have denounced the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, saying the action was politically motivated.

FBI agents raided Trump’s home on Monday, looking for classified documents the former president was supposed to turn over to the National Archives. The former president announced the raid on his residence and vault, calling it an unfair action encouraged by the Justice Department and Democrats to hurt his 2024 chances.

While Trump has won the support of many conservative evangelical leaders during his presidency, many of whom have been invited to the White House on several occasions, several evangelical pastors expressed their displeasure with the raid on social media.

Jentezen Franklin, a megachurch pastor and best-selling author, posted a statement on his Instagram page on Tuesday saying he was “deeply disturbed by the raid on the home of a former president.”

“If the goal of the current administration was to further divide this country, then that mission has been accomplished with the militarization of the DOJ and the FBI,” said Franklin, the pastor of the Free Chapel in Georgia.

“The American people are not blind to political bias and injustice and they have witnessed both with this unprecedented act of cowardice.”

Franklin, who was among groups of pastors who attended events at Trump’s White House, claimed the raid was an “abuse of federal power” that only happened because of the “political ideologies of Trump and his opposition to woke policies and values.”

“If you’re like me, you can’t wait until November to elect this failed and incompetent leadership across the country,” he concluded.

Tony Perkins, a Baptist pastor and president of the Washington, DC-based conservative Christian advocacy group the Family Research Council, took to his Twitter account to voice his opposition to the Mar-a-Lago raid.

“Who trusts the FBI to pursue justice? asked Perkins. “The agency has become so politicized that even if their actions were justified, half the nation still wouldn’t trust them.”

The Reverend Franklin Graham, head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, believes the FBI and DOJ risk losing credibility again.

Graham, the son of legendary evangelist Billy Graham, referenced the 1992 Ruby Ridge incident in which an FBI sniper shot and killed the wife of a man suspected of being linked to violent white supremacists, sparking outrage.

“Thirty years ago the FBI lost a lot of credibility because of the unfortunate events that surrounded Ruby Ridge. Last night as we watched the events unfolding at Mar-a-Lago, I couldn’t help me think that the FBI and DOJ are losing credibility and the trust of the American people,” Graham wrote.

“I have no idea what was in former President Trump’s safe, but if the government thought there was anything that belonged to him, he certainly could have asked for it.”

Graham insisted that “politics has entered the FBI, the DOJ and even the IRS,” expressing concern over recent news that the IRS is hiring about 87,000 new employees.

“It’s about freedom – as Americans we lose our freedoms. Our nation has become so corrupt politically and morally. We must repent and turn from our sins and call on God’s name, asking for His sorry,” he said. continued.

“We need leadership changes. We need men and women who uphold biblical principles and values ​​to run for office at local, state and national levels.”

Described by The Associated Press as “unprecedented”, the raid was approved by US Attorney General Merrick Garland. The White House says it didn’t know about the raid until after it started.

“The president learned it like all of you, through public reports. And we learned it like the American people,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a briefing. briefing.

“This is a criminal investigation that the Department of Justice is conducting independently. We’ll leave it up to them to talk about it.”

In response to allegations of politicization of the FBI, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi noted that FBI Director Christopher A. Wray was appointed by Trump in 2017.

“The director of the FBI was appointed by Donald Trump,” Pelosi said, as quoted by the AP. “Facts and truth, facts and rights, that’s what it’s all about.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, said if Republicans take control of the House of Representatives in the upcoming midterm elections, they will launch an investigation into the “armed politicization” of the Ministry of Justice.

“I’ve seen enough. The Justice Department has reached an intolerable state of militarized politicization,” McCarthy said. “When Republicans take over the House, we will conduct immediate oversight of this department, follow the facts, and leave no stone unturned.”

“Attorney General Garland, save your paperwork and clean up your calendar,” McCarthy added.

In his statement, Trump compared the raid on his residence to the Watergate scandal of 1972, “where agents broke into the Democratic National Committee.”

“Hillary Clinton was allowed to delete and acid wash 33,000 emails AFTER they were subpoenaed by Congress. Absolutely nothing happened to hold her accountable. She even took furniture elders and other White House items,” Trump added.

People familiar with discussions surrounding the raid told the Washington Post on Wednesday that federal authorities have grown increasingly concerned that Trump or his aides have not returned all documents and materials that belong to the government.

According to the unnamed sources, officials were suspicious after Trump turned over 15 boxes to the National Archives seven months ago that Trump or his relatives held important documents. According to two sources familiar with the situation who spoke to The Washington Post on condition of anonymity, the National Archives attempted to contact Trump’s team to demand the return of documents believed to be covered by the Presidential Archives Act.

A lawyer for Trump confirmed that officers acting on a judge-approved warrant took about 12 more boxes of documents after conducting their search.

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Barry F. Howard