Former US ambassador: 'No comparison' between Trump’s top secret docs and Hillary’s emails
Trump lurks behind Hillary Clinton in a presidential debate/Screenshot
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The raid on Mar-a-Lago was unprecedented – but that’s because it was unprecedented for former President Trump to leave the White House with stacks of classified and top-secret materials, according to former US ambassador Don Beyer. Now a congressman, Beyer remembers when he held a top-secret clearance, which is why he’s astounded sensitive government secrets were handled so cavalierly by Trump.

In the wake of this latest Trump scandal, Democrats now have a new opportunity to challenge the GOP’s self-anointed title of the “law and order” party, according to Beyer who is disgusted with all the anti-FBI rhetoric coming from Republicans these days.

“Completely reprehensible,” Beyer, a Virginia Democrat, told Raw Story in a phone interview this week. “They've always had an advantage for a long time over Democrats in terms of law enforcement, but they’re just giving it all away.”

News that Trump took more than 700 pages of classified documents with him after he lost the White House was shocking to many. But the former ambassador says he’s still mystified – if also a tad terrified – that among all those classified documents were top secret or sensitive compartmented information, which he wanted to deal with as little as possible while he served as a European ambassador under President Obama.

“I must confess, when they would bring me those top secret documents – I had the top secret clearance, the SCI, sensitive compartmented information – I would read them standing up, and then hand them right back to the CIA agents,” Beyer recounted. “I did not want them on my desk. I certainly, certainly wouldn't think of taking them home. There's no way to get in trouble faster than to mishandle a classified document.”

The trove of classified and top secret documents found in Trump’s possession after his one term in office remains almost unfathomable to Beyer.

“In embassies around the world, the Marines, every night, will go to every member's desk at the embassy – consular affairs, political, and PR; all [departments] – and look to see if there's any classified material displayed out there,” Beyer said. “And if there is, not only will they seize it and lock it up, but then there's immediately a security violation filed, and that affects your ability to be promoted. It's really a big deal.”

While many Republicans continue to beat the conspiratorial drum of “deep state” as they point to Hillary Clinton's use of her own private server to send email while she was secretary of state, Beyer says the infractions are universes apart.

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“Give me a break,” Beyer said. “There’s no comparison – it’s versus ‘what time are you coming home for dinner?’ or ‘what are we doing this weekend?’ There’s just no comparison.”

The attacks on the FBI coming from former Trump aides, including Steve Bannon, and the likes of Reps. Lauren Boebert (CO), Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), and Andy Biggs (AZ) have Beyer concerned, especially after the FBI field office in Cincinnati was attacked.

“I do worry about how ad hominem all this is,” Beyer said.

As a Virginia congressman, Beyer represents many federal employees and government contractors, but he says his time serving as one of President Obama’s ambassadors gave him an enduring respect for federal workers.

“Those four years I was in Switzerland, surrounded by federal employees, I could never figure out who is a Democrat and who's a Republican. They would shield themselves completely,” Beyer recounted. “I have a hiking friend who was an Air Force brigadier general who said he went out of his way to never be a Democrat, never be a Republican, because he had to serve whoever [was president]. And that’s the way most of those folks are. I think it's just really sad that they're attacking them and that they're making them feel unsafe.”

In the wake of the FBI going into Mar-a-Lago, Beyer posted a warning on Facebook about Trump and congressional Republicans' plan to continue targeting the federal workforce.

“If he returns to office, Donald Trump hopes to purge the civil service in order to protect himself from threats to his power,” Beyer posted last week. “But Republicans are plotting to use an arcane tool to attack investigations much sooner.”

The fear of a Republican-controlled House under a MAGA-friendly speakership – likely Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy – would likely mean the revival of the Holman Rule. The rule allows Congress to single out individual federal workers and slash their pay to as little as $1. Republicans revived it under former Speaker Paul Ryan in 2017, but that was two impeachments, countless big lies, one insurrection, and one FBI raid ago.

Beyer’s bracing for an all-out assault on federal law enforcement officials – from Attorney General Merrick Garland on down – if the GOP seizes the reins of power in the House this fall.

“I have no doubt whatsoever that they would use the threat of government shutdowns and debt ceiling breaches,” Beyer told the Washington Post, before he predicted “some of the worst attacks on the rule of law this country has ever seen.”

Even as Beyer braces for the worst, he also thinks the GOP has gone too far this time, especially because their attacks come after the FBI found a trove of top secret and classified documents in Trump’s safe at Mar-a-Lago.

While Beyer says that gives Democrats an opening ahead of this fall’s midterms, he’s mostly hoping attacks on federal law enforcement officials subside soon.

“I still have enormous faith in the FBI through good times and bad times,” Beyer told Raw Story. “These are public servants trying to do their best to protect American law, American democracy, and they do it.”

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