McCaul: President Has 'Different Set of Rules' on Documents Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Sunday, 04 September 2022 11:46 AM EDT
Rep. Michael McCaul, while commenting on the FBI's search of former President Donald Trump's Florida home, said Sunday that while he would not have taken boxes of documents to his home, a president has a "different set of rules that apply to him."
"I have lived in the classified world most of my professional career," the Texas Republican said on ABC News's "This Week." "But I'm not the president of the United States…The president can declassify a document at a moment's notice, and we don't have all the facts. I know they were taken out of the White House while he was president, and whether or not he declassified those documents remains to be seen. He said he did, but I don't have all the facts there."
Show co-host Martha Raddatz told McCaul that former Attorney General Bill Barr has dismissed the idea of Trump giving a blanket declassification to all the documents, and the congressman agreed that there is a process that usually happens, but said the matter is different for a president.
"The president's in a very different position than most of us in the national security space, and if this was such a national security threat, why didn't they brief the 'Gang of Eight on this?" McCaul said. "The relevant committees on the Hill have asked for briefings on this to find out what was so important here from a national security standpoint that would merit such an extreme measure to have a search warrant on a former president of the United States."
McCaul, a former federal prosecutor, also discussed Trump's comments at Saturday night's rally, when he called the FBI and the Department of Justice "vicious monsters" over the raid at his home.
The congressman said that many Republicans are already not trusting federal law enforcement on the heels of the investigation into Trump and Russia, and that "saddens" him as an alumnus of the DOJ.
"I hate to see people's faith in our institutions being weakened," he said. "I have a lot of questions. Why didn't they enforce the subpoena before they did this unprecedented search warrant on a former president of the United States? This will come out factually as this case moves forward."
McCaul on Sunday also commented on President Joe Biden's Philadelphia speech, calling his words a "slap in the face" to millions of Americans.
"I think that if this was a speech to unify the American people, it had just the opposite effect," he said. "It basically condemned all Republicans who supported Donald Trump in the last election. That's over 70 million people. Saying that Republicans are a threat to democracy is a slap in the face."
He also accused Biden of "teeing up who the enemy" is under the guise of a speech announced to unite the nation.
"A lot of Republicans were very offended by that speech," said McCaul. "This was not a presidential address. It was a political speech and it wasn't even carried by your network or the other two major networks, because it was so political. It was a campaign speech before the midterm elections and that's how I see it."
The congressman, though, acknowledged that the political rhetoric has "been heightened" on both sides, including with Trump's comments referring to Biden as an "enemy of the state," at Saturday night's rally, and he does not think that mainstream America likes that.
"I wish the president could have been more like Abraham Lincoln who did not condemn the Democrats in the South at that time," said McCaul. "He actually brought them into the tent and I think that would be the mission I would advise for the president. I think he failed to do that in this speech that he gave."