Sen. Roy Blunt offered tepid criticism of Donald Trump on Sunday, saying the former president should have complied with earlier requests to return classified documents — but Mr. Blunt also voiced concerns about the motives behind the controversial raid of Mar-a-Lago.
The Missouri Republican, a member of GOP Senate leadership who sits on the Intelligence Committee, initially demurred before sharing his concerns.
“He should have turned the documents over and apparently had turned a number of documents over,” Mr. Blunt said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “What I wonder about is why this could go on for almost two years and less than 100 days before the election, suddenly, we’re talking about this rather than the economy or inflation or even the student loan program you and I were going to talk about today.”
The FBI recovered 11 sets of highly classified material from Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate after more than a yearlong effort by the National Archives to retrieve the documents in a raid that has Republicans accusing the Justice Department of improperly going after a political foe of President Biden.
A heavily redacted affidavit released Friday showed that the unprecedented FBI raid was based on agents’ previous recovery of 184 classified documents from Mr. Trump’s home.
“He should have turned over all of them,” Mr. Blunt said. “I imagine he knows that very well now as well.”
Mr. Trump has denied any wrongdoing and has requested that a special master be appointed to oversee that none of the materials were improperly taken.