RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Budd said there should be “full transparency” Friday regarding the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s home in Florida.
Budd has had Trump’s backing in the race for North Carolina’s open U.S. Senate seat and called the search at Mar-a-Lago “absolutely unprecedented.”
“What we’ve asked for is full transparency. And, so far we don’t have that at this point,” Budd said.
Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland said Thursday the Department of Justice would ask a judge to unseal the warrant and property record from the search, which the judge did Friday.
The unsealed documents show the FBI obtained 11 sets of classified documents, including some labeled top secret.
The documents also show the former president is under investigation for violating the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice and removal or destruction of records.
Budd said he also wants the affidavit in support of the search warrant released as well.
“We do not want a current sitting president to attack a former president by means of the FBI. So, that’s what’s concerning at this point,” Budd said. “So, we want full transparency to make sure that’s not what’s happening.”
Officials at the White House said this week President Biden was not briefed on the search before it occurred. Atty. Gen. Garland said he “personally approved” the decision to seek the search warrant.
Soon after former President Trump announced on Monday that the search was taking place, some Republicans quickly criticized the FBI and Department of Justice.
U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC 9th) tweeted, “Republicans must smash the FBI into a million pieces.”
When asked about comments like that, Budd said, “I’m focused on this race right here in North Carolina, and my job is not to comment on other colleagues in Congress.”
Budd’s opponent in the U.S. Senate race, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, also weighed in on the matter Friday in an interview on MSNBC.
“I have a real respect for the rule of law and for law enforcement to be able to do their jobs,” she said. “I think we need to see how all of this falls into place, so that we have more information to have a better opportunity to assess where we are in all of this. I do also know that it’s important that national security be of primary concern for all of us in this work.”
The new developments regarding the search came the same day Budd debuted his first TV ad of the general election campaign.
In the ad, Budd focuses on the economy and inflation while standing in a grocery store and talking about the higher costs families are paying.
“And, I’m running for Senate to stop (Biden’s) spending and end this recession,” he said in the ad.
It was released the same day the U.S. House of Representatives was scheduled to take a final vote on the Inflation Reduction Act and send it to President Biden’s desk for his signature.
“It’s poor timing. And, this is reckless spending from Joe Biden that’s going to hurt Americans, ultimately,” Budd said.
David McLennan, an expert on state politics at Meredith College, said the economy remains the top issue in the election and it’s unclear how this week’s events could impact that.
“As we get further into the situation and start finding out more details, it may temper that kind of kneejerk, initial response,” he said. “It will definitely play a role. We just don’t know how big of one.”