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Republicans have ‘distrust, but verify’ view on DOJ, former Homeland Security chair says

McCaul said he had questions regarding the search, including why the Gang of Eight — leaders in Congress privy to classified information — and other relevant members of Congress weren’t better-informed about it.

But, he added, “As an alumni of DOJ, I hate to see people’s faith in our institutions being weakened.”

The Texas representative previously served as chair of the House Homeland Security Committee and is the minority leader on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Asked his thoughts on Trump taking classified documents to Mar-a-Lago in the first place, McCaul said he “personally wouldn’t do that,” having spent most of his career “in the classified world.”

“But I’m not the President of the United States,” McCaul said. “He has a different set of rules that apply to him. The president can declassify a document on a moment’s notice.”

A court filing unsealed Friday revealed that federal agents who searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort found documents marked highly classified mixed in with items like books and clothing. There were also folders marked classified that were empty, with no indication as to where the documents might have gone.

Republicans have juggled defenses of the former president since agents searched Florida estate early last month.

McCaul’s “distrust, but verify” line was likely a reference to former President Ronald Reagan’s “trust, but verify” line when discussing negotiations on reducing nuclear weapons with then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who died last week at the age of 91. “Trust, but verify” is said to have been derived from an old Russian proverb.

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