sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) defended former President Trump on Sunday in the wake of an FBI investigation of his property in Mar-a-Lago, but noted that Trump should have turned in “all” classified documents authorities said he had. kept after he left the White House.
“I understand that he has handed over many documents. He should have turned them all over. I imagine he knows that very well now,” Blunt said on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”
Blunt avoided answering several questions about whether Trump was right to bring the sensitive material from the White House to his resort in Palm Beach, Florida, before admitting that the former president should have turned over the documents to the National Archives, such as required by the Presidential Archives Act.
“He should have turned in the documents and apparently had turned in some documents. … What I wonder is why this could take almost two years, and less than 100 days before the election, we’re suddenly talking about this instead of the economy or inflation,” Blunt said.
Blunt questioned the timing of the investigation so close to this year’s midterms and also why the Justice Department and the director of national intelligence had not reported the matter to the Senate Intelligence Committee, of which he is a member.
“Why hadn’t we heard anything about this, if the administration was concerned there was a national security problem?”
The FBI seized 11 sets of classified documents from Mar-a-Lago when it executed a search warrant there earlier this month. An unsealed warrant indicates Trump is under investigation for possible violations of the Espionage Act and other laws related to the documents.
The affidavit justifying the FBI’s search warrant for Mar-a-Lago was released in redacted form last week.
The Missouri senator also tried to draw parallels between Trump’s case and Hillary Clinton, who was under FBI investigation for mishandling emails while she was Secretary of State. But he also acknowledged that sensitive government information must be handled appropriately.
“You have to be careful with classified documents. I have had access to such documents for a long time. I’m incredibly careful,” Blunt said.