Evan McMullin on Mar-a-Lago: Trump treated with ‘kid gloves’

Politics

FILE – Evan McMullin poses for a photograph, April 28, 2022, in Salt Lake City. McMullin, a newly empowered independent who’s been backed by the Democrats, is running against Sen. Mike Lee who is up for reelection. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, file)

(NewsNation) — Former President Donald Trump was treated with “kid gloves” during the search on his Florida residence Mar-a-Lago, Evan McMullin, Independent candidate for the U.S. Senate in Utah said on “The Chris Cuomo Project.”

McMullin, a former CIA officer who is running against incumbent Republican Sen. Mike Lee, made the remarks on incoming NewsNation anchor Chris Cuomo’s podcast, which was posted Tuesday morning.

“The kind of classified information that lands on the President of the United States’ desk is not just run-of-the-mill classified information,” McMullin said. “The kind of classified information that the president has access to is really core to our ability to defend America from very real threats that it faces, most of which are often simply just not known by the public.”

The FBI in August executed a search warrant at Trump’s Florida resort, related to an investigation into whether he mishandled presidential records. FBI agents ended up finding numerous classified documents during their search of the property, including ones marked “top secret” or “confidential.” An inventory of the material seized showed the FBI taking more than 100 documents with classification markings during the August search.

As the New York Times previously reported, the agency recovered more than 300 classified documents Trump held onto since leaving office, which is what triggered the investigation.

A lot of people would love to get these documents in hand, McMullin said. “There are a lot of countries around the world who invest millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars every year to steal U.S. national security secrets,” he said. “That’s why we classify them. That’s why we keep them in secured environments physically and electronically.”

Should the public know about these threats, “It would be damaging to our national security,” McMullin said, as it would make it more likely for the U.S.’s adversaries to also get access to this information. It could also create panic among the general population, the Senate candidate added.

“The idea that we have a president who walked out of the White House with those most precious important national security secrets, those documents, to store them in the basement of his house, is just beyond the pale,” McMullin said.

Had a regular civilian taken classified information home from work, McMullin argued, they would not be given the same “courtesy” of a subpoena like Trump did from the Department of Justice before the search warrant was executed.

In the podcast, he said it feels like the Department of Justice “bent over backwards” to treat the former president — “almost too fairly.”

“Donald Trump was treated with kid gloves, I think, in this process,” McMullin said.

Some have argued that although the search warrant on Mar-a-Lago was executed appropriately, it may have negative political ramifications for Democrats, especially as Republicans criticize it as “government overreach.”

Responding to these suggestions, McMullin said law enforcement “can’t operate” based on this.

“No one’s above the law,” McMullin said. “You walk out of a federal government facility with our most sensitive national security secrets that are critical for keeping Americans safe in an increasingly dangerous world, you are going to be visited by the federal government in their pursuit of those documents.”

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