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Republicans rallied in support of Trump after FBI raided his property

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

Steve Peoples

NEW YORK (AP) — A small crack in Donald Trump's political support has widened for much of this year.

Disgruntled Republican primary voters began considering a new presidential candidate. Republican donors addressed harmful revelations uncovered by the January 6 committee. Several party leaders have contemplated challenging Trump for the 2024 party nomination.

But Republicans quickly banded together in favor of the former president after the FBI executed a search warrant at his Florida mansion.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, perhaps representing Trump's biggest potential major challenger, has described the Biden administration as a "regime," Called Monday's Marlago search for improperly exfiltrated classified documents "further escalation of the weaponization of federal agencies against the administration's political opponents."

Republicans blame Trump for a politicized Justice Department But in the eyes of federal judges, the possibility of criminal conduct justifying an investigation is ignored. It overlooked Trump's role in hiring Chris Wray, while Biden's White House said it had no prior knowledge of the search.

But a solid defense is driven by the ability of many Republican voters to capitalize on dissatisfaction with the government and other institutions, with the former president's enduring criticism of the Republican Party. A new reminder of dominance. Trump used that animosity to overcome the impact of two impeachments and riots. His allies said on Tuesday that the FBI search would only reinforce his position.

"Trump has just won the 2024 primary," Trump said. sect commentator Jack Poszowiec declared.

The FBI probe also appears to have sparked a shift among Trump advisers who had personally urged him to wait until after the midterms to announce his intentions to run for the presidency again. Suddenly, some of those same advisers urged him to start campaigning before the November elections.

Mr. Trump stirred up such speculation by posting a video of his style campaign on his media social media hours after the search. "The best is yet to come," he said.

He continued his appeal for funding, stating, "Know that it's not just my home that's been violated, it's the home of every patriotic American I've fought for." is important.for."

In Columbia, South Carolina, Senator Lindsay Graham said she spoke with Trump and was convinced another campaign would be forthcoming.

"I can tell you one thing," said Graham. "I believed he would run before. I hold my beliefs much stronger now."

Among Republicans' most vocal critics of Trump Some still hesitate to accept the former president. And it was unclear how the Republican rank and file, dissatisfied with Trump's divisive leadership, would be swayed by the new developments. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a federal prosecutor and one of many Republicans considering running for president in 2024, said on Tuesday that a federal judge had to approve the warrant. said.

"The former president is presumed innocent," Christie said in an interview. "On the other hand, the prosecutor's motives cannot be immediately dismissed simply because he belongs to another political party."

"An extraordinary act. And the bottom line. They have every right to do it, if anything.”

A relatively short list of Republican leaders who remained silent on Tuesday afternoon was the Senate majority. It was led by party leader Mitch McConnell. A spokeswoman for Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, a lead speaker on the commission investigating Trump's role in the Jan. 6 attacks on the US Capitol, also declined to comment.

But an overwhelming majority, from Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to DeSantis, accuse the Biden administration of "weaponizing" the Justice Department, criticizing Trump's potential Ignored cheating.

"Republicans are now fully embracing the idea that Trump should be above the law and that Trump 2.0 will be a bonfire of vengeance," said frequent Trump critic Charlie. Sykes writes

Former Vice President Mike Pence, who is gearing up for the presidential election, says he shares the "deep concern of millions of Americans" about the raid on Trump's private residence. .

Pence and Trump clashed this midterm primary season over Republican direction. On Tuesday, Trump and Pence endorsed a rival Republican candidate for governor of Wisconsin.

But Pence stopped attacking the FBI. Instead, Attorney General Merrick Garland said, "The American public should be given a full explanation as to why this action was taken, and he must do so immediately."

Other Republicans embraced the new call to "defend the FBI." Two of Trump's main challengers, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, didn't go that far, but have aggressively denounced the Justice Department on Trump's behalf. .

Hawley called the search an "unprecedented attack on democratic norms and the rule of law." He also called for Garland's resignation or impeachment and the dismissal of FBI Director Wray.

Cotton said Garland had "weaponized" the Justice Department against his political opponents. "This has consequences," he warned.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican considering running for president in 2024, also described the search as an "unprecedented and worrying campaign." called "should". However, like Pence, she added, "We need to review the Presumed Cause Affidavit before making any judgment."

Earlier this year, a months-long investigation intensified into how classified documents were kept in a White House box of records in Maralago. We are investigating Trump and his allies' efforts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

In late June, long before the latest developments, 48% of U.S. adults voted for him in the attack on the Capitol on January 6, according to The Associated poll. For his role, Trump said he should be charged with the crime. Press-NORC Public Relations Research Center.

Trump's view of criminal liability predictably collapsed in line with party line, with his 86% of Democrats and his 10% of Republicans saying that Trump He said he should be prosecuted. Still, the fact that nearly half of the country believed he should be indicted marks a surprising position for the former president, and the difficulties he could face in his next run in the White House.

Former Trump adviser Sam Nambug said Monday's FBI survey showed that Republican primary voters, especially among Republicans who have begun to lean towards DeSantis and another newcomer He said it would almost certainly strengthen Trump's position. But if Trump is finally indicted for federal crimes linked to the investigation, as Mr. Nambug predicts, the former president's ability to win more voters in the 2024 general election will be huge. You may get hit.

"Despite everyone's fantasies, from Sean Hannity to Steve Bannon, they promised that no indicted person would be elected President of the United States. I can," said Nambug.

But at least on Tuesday, Republicans were squarely backing the undisputed leader, Mr. Trump.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor of Georgia, one of her most vocal Trump supporters in Congress, Rep. Green, thanked the Justice Department for holding her party together. seemed to be

"I've talked a lot about the civil war within the Republican Party, and I'm leaning into it because America has to use fear to finally make America First." Because we unknowingly&need effective Republicans," she tweeted. "His tyrannical FBI raid on her MAR last night is uniting us in ways I've never seen."


AP Writer Zircolvin and Meg Kinnard of , contributed to this report.