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Bentz joins Republican calls to investigate FBI after Trump home searched

Oregon’s sole Republican in Congress joined others in his party in calling for a congressional investigation into the FBI for executing a search warrant on former President Donald Trump’s Florida resort. 

The FBI searched Trump’s home on Monday as part of an investigation into potential mishandling of classified documents, according to multiple media reports. The National Archives and Records Administration earlier this year reclaimed 15 boxes of White House records which were improperly stored at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

After the FBI searched Trump’s Florida home, Republicans in Congress rushed to his defense. Rep. Cliff Bentz, who has represented eastern Oregon since 2020, was among them. 

“The FBI should be for working for all Americans. If it’s going to raid a former President’s home, then it must appear before Congress and answer for its actions,” Bentz tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “And soon.” 

Bentz is a lawyer who specialized in ranch reorganizations and water law, according to his congressional biography. 

To obtain a search warrant, the FBI first needed to convince a federal judge that they had probable cause to believe a crime had been committed. U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart of the Southern District of Florida approved the warrant.

Several federal laws apply to White House records. The Presidential Records Act, enacted in the wake of the Watergate scandal, requires that all White House documents be preserved by the U.S. government. And a law signed by Trump in 2018 following his campaign attacks on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for using a private email server made it a felony to move classified documents. 

Bentz, and other Republicans, have little power in the U.S. House, where Democrats hold the majority. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, responded to the search by pledging to conduct an “immediate” investigation into the Department of Justice if Republicans win a congressional majority following the November election.

Oregon’s Democratic congressional delegation has largely avoided discussing the FBI’s investigation into Trump, instead sending statements about monkeypox, district meetings and the spending bill the Senate passed this weekend to lower drug costs, reduce the federal deficit and address climate change.

But Oregon’s junior senator, Democrat Jeff Merkley, obliquely referred to Trump on Tuesday. 

“No one should be above the law,” he tweeted. 

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