Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Sunday the Department of Justice will need to be transparent in proving the importance of the unprecedented search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago last week but also criticized the response from other Republicans who he said inflamed animus against law enforcement.
“I still believe that transparency was and is critically important. I was not one of the people that was just reacting, just defending Donald Trump,” Hogan told ABC “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl of the FBI operation at the former president’s residence in Florida. “But I understood that, without anyone understanding what this was about, that it was going to and could lead to even further division and angry rhetoric from both sides.”
“And so, I was happy that they did come out and unseal the documents on the search,” Hogan said. “I think it was a step in the right direction. But I think we still have a lot of unanswered questions and we’re gonna continue until people understand more.”
Hogan told Karl that he was concerned after classified and other highly sensitive materials were retrieved at Mar-a-Lago, according to a redacted copy of the warrant and related papers that the court released Friday.
Sources previously told ABC News that the search was in connection to documents that Trump took with him when he departed Washington, including some records the National Archives said were marked classified.
Through a spokesperson, Trump claimed the files were declassified. He has said the investigation is politically motivated.
“I think that’s what we have to find out more information about: What really are the documents and what are the implications from a national security standpoint?” Hogan said Sunday. “One side, you can say, ‘well, the Justice Department, the FBI and the federal judge believed that they should do it, then it must be pretty serious.’ On the other hand, with the absence of more transparency, people are going to continue to jump to conclusions.”
Hogan, a loud intraparty critic of Trump, also warned against other Republicans exacerbating tensions over the ongoing investigation after some lawmakers like Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene issued calls to “defund the FBI, dismantle the DOJ, and gut the agencies of political biases and persecutions.”
Those comments continued after a man attacked an FBI office in Ohio following the search.
“It’s outrageous rhetoric,” said Hogan. “My father, my uncle, two of my cousins were FBI agents and I work with [agents] on an ongoing basis, state police work with them every single day. These are dedicated law enforcement officers.”
Karl cited a photo of some House Republicans who visited Trump after last week’s search, rallying around him.
“I’m not sure history’s going to remember all of them fondly,” Hogan said.
“Look, I think no man is above the law, but everybody’s innocent until proven guilty,” he said. “So we just have to see where this investigation leads.”
Hogan was coy about his own presidential ambitions, rumors of which have been sparked by his recent travels to key primary states and his repeated calls for an anti-Trump future for the GOP.
“I’m trying to do what I can to get my party back on track,” he said, “because I want to win elections instead of lose elections.”