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There was no shortage of outrage from Republicans, who condemned the FBI and Justice Department for the raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.

Some GOP members have made some outlandish statements, such as claiming Mar-a-Lago is a “fairly safe place” for classified documents, with more Republicans appearing to support the president in the weeks that followed.

Among them is Texas Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw, who this week claimed Trump was cooperating with authorities.

While Mr. Crenshaw called the raid “political,” he also distanced himself from calls from colleagues to “disappoint the FBI.”

CNN host Jake Tapper, who interviewed Crenshaw, called the Texas congressman’s criticism of the FBI and DOJ “quite appropriate.”

Nonetheless, the interview was taken up on social media, with some criticizing Tapper’s approach and accusing him of not being harsh enough in denouncing some of the statements.

The news agency has announced significant changes under new ownership Warner Brothers Discovery, including the termination of CNN’s Brian Stelter-hosted media show Reliable Sources.

A tweet sent on August 21, 2022, which received more than 127,000 engagements, attempted to tie Reliable Sources’ hiring to the Crenshaw interview.

Wow. CNN’s Brian Stelter closed his show by saying, “We have to make sure we don’t give platforms to those who lie to our face.” Then he was fired — and within the hour, Jake Tapper was leaving Dan Crenshaw with no fact checks or Lying to the face. Journalism at CNN is dead.

— Dash Dobrofsky (@DashDobrofsky) August 21, 2022

what we know

Much of what Crenshaw said is mostly his opinion, but there are a few claims worth investigating.

During the interview, Crenshaw said that Trump worked with the Justice Department and that the former president told him, “Whatever you need from us, just ask.”

There appears to be no evidence to support this claim, aside from Trump’s own claim, which Crenshaw appears to be taking at face value.

news week has previously spoken to experts about the reasons for the search, both before and after it became known that there were potential national security concerns.

Former federal prosecutor Gene Rossi spoke news week previously about the circumstances of the search.

“I would suspect that if they had reason to believe he was allegedly continuing to withhold nuclear and military secrets, I think a judge would have an easier time approving this search warrant,” Rossi said.

He continued, “But I must stress, this affidavit that you submitted to the judge, I would be very surprised if it weren’t incredibly detailed, deep in the evidence base and full of corroborating documents and witnesses in support of the search warrant.”

Again, there are no records to confirm Trump telling the FBI, “Whatever you need from us, just ask,” much less whether he honored that offer.

For now, we can only speculate as to why a search was warranted. It could be that the FBI was adamant and would turn the documents over to Trump anyway; or that Trump cooperated to some degree, but not to the satisfaction of authorities; or that new information on the status of documents/materials warranted a search; or that Trump ignored/denied requests to return documents and/or materials altogether.

What is crucial here, however, is that Crenshaw claims he knew for a fact that Trump was cooperating with authorities, despite insufficient primary evidence to suggest that he actually was.

Crenshaw made a provably misleading statement later in the interview when he claimed a White House spokesman said people should “be out protesting the Supreme Court Justices’ homes even after Brett Kavanaugh threatened his life.” .

This is misleading. It appears that Crenshaw is referring to the ensuing White House press briefing, where Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that while the President “condemns” intimidation, people should be allowed to protest peacefully.

Jean-Pierre answered a question about the Supreme Court justices who, after hearing Roe v. Wade were criticized and protested by some Americans.

In May 2022, Nicholas Roske was arrested after allegedly showing up with a gun outside Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Maryland neighborhood. Officials said the man was said to be upset about the leaked draft opinion on Roe v. Calf. Roske has since been charged with attempted murder.

Then, in July 2022, protesters arrived at Morton’s Steakhouse in Washington DC to confront Brett Kavanaugh; Judge Kavanaugh was later escorted out of the back of the restaurant.

During the press conference, Jean-Pierre said peaceful protest was justified, even in front of a restaurant where a judge was eating.

“If it’s outside of a restaurant, if it’s peaceful, sure,” she said.

As such, Crenshaw’s summary of the exchange is misleading. The White House did not direct people to protest the Supreme Court justices where they lived.

In response to claims that Trump was cooperating with authorities, Tapper said, “But he hasn’t turned over boxes and crates of materials as far as the Justice Department says” and “[Trump’s] Lawyers said they no longer had any classified information, and the Justice Department said yes, you do. And they went and got it.”

Although Tapper did not respond to the allegation about Karine Jean-Pierre, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to respond to all untrue or misleading comments made by a respondent, particularly when comments are unpredictable.

The responsibility here lies with interviewees like Crenshaw, who try to present themselves as reasonable but still make misleading statements.

news week has reached out to Dan Crenshaw for comment.

As I said, there is only speculation as to why the FBI had to take documents from Mar-a-Lago. The unsealing of the search warrant tells us the nature of the documents they were after, but not much else.

While the affidavit remains classified (for now), we still don’t know the series of events that led to the search, or what warranted the Bureau’s investigation of former President Trump’s home. As the investigation is still ongoing, this may not be known for some time.

Trump’s recent lawsuit against the DOJ over the Mar-a-Lago search doesn’t appear to offer any new insights that the former president hasn’t already voiced via his Truth social media app.

This again underscores why Crenshaw’s comments about the exchange with the FBI are speculative and not factual. What we know, what we don’t

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Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.