Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that he would not take classified documents from the government but insisted that former President Donald Trump "has a different set of rules."
During an interview on ABC, host Martha Raddatz reported that Trump had recently referred to the FBI as "vicious monsters" because his Mar-a-Lago home was searched for stolen government documents.
"I think the perception is what a lot of Republicans I know see on the heels of the Russian investigation, the Steele dossier -- there's a certain distrust-but-verify attitude when it comes to the Department of Justice and the FBI," McCaul opined. "And frankly, it saddens me because as an alumni of DOJ, I hate to see people's faith in our institutions being weakened."
McCaul said that he was suspicious of the government's motives.
"Why didn't they enforce the subpoena before they did this unprecedented search warrant on a former president of the United States?" he complained.
"Do you see any reason he should have taken those documents?" Raddatz wondered. "Those classified, highly-classified documents to Mar-a-Lago?"
"Well, look, I, you know, I have lived in the classified world most of my professional career," McCaul said. "I personally wouldn't do that but I'm not the president of the United States. He has a different set of rules that apply to him."
"The president can declassify a document on a moment's notice," he added. "And we don't have all the facts. I know they were taken out of the White House while he was president and whether or not he declassified those documents remains to be seen. He says he did. I don't have all the facts there."
Raddatz pointed out that former Attorney General Bill Barr has called Trump's power to declassify documents en masse an "absurd idea."
"There is a process for declassification," McCaul admitted. "But again, the president is in a very different position than most of us in the national security space. And if this was such a national security threat, for God's sake, why didn't they brief the Gang of Eight on this?"
Watch the video clip below from ABC.