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Top state Republicans react to FBI search on Mar-a-Lago

Governor's Office
Governor's Office
Gov. Kristi Noem with then-Vice President Mike Pence and then-President Donald Trump in a file image.

The state's top Republicans are reacting negatively to an FBI search on former President Donald Trump's home in Florida.

As NPR reports, the search warrant execution represents a significant escalation in an investigation by the Justice Department.

That includes looking into the mishandling of government documents.

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, a close ally to Trump, condemned the search Monday evening.

"The FBI raid on President Trump’s home is an unprecedented political weaponization of the Justice Department," Noem said in a tweet. "They’ve been after President Trump as a candidate, as President, and now as a former President. Using the criminal justice system in this manner is un-American."

It's unclear what the search uncovered. However, the search may be related to 15 boxes of presidential documents that were moved from the White House to Mar-a-Lago, Trump's residence.

Republican U.S. Sen. John Thune says the FBI needs to provide answers as to why it searched the home of a former American president.

"Complete transparency is the only way to dispel the American people's worst suspicions about the agency's motives," Thune said in the tweet. "Like every other American, I await their timely explanation. Delay is not an option."

This is not the first time an FBI action has been seen as political. In 2016, the FBI investigated email use by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The investigation centered around mishandling of classified information. Thuneand Sen. Mike Rounds sought to revoke Clinton's security clearance. She was running for president at the time.

Rounds says the FBI search on Trump's personal residence is unprecedented for a former president.

"Once a warrant has been issued, there is a requirement of investigators to itemize seized items. This is the judicial process afforded to every U.S. citizen," Rounds said in a statement. "The integrity of the Department of Justice has to be beyond reproach — and at this point there are serious questions. As this is a developing legal issue, I will refrain from any editorial comments until more information is released to the public. However, I share the deep concerns of many, that this will be viewed as another political stunt. The DOJ would be wise to share their findings quickly or risk greater damage to the agency."

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.