Aug 9, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Convicted, disgraced ex-politicians attack FBI over Mar-a-Lago search

Andrew Cuomo, Paul Manafort and Rod Blagojevich
From left: Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Photos: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket; Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg; Scott Olson via Getty Images

Disgraced former elected officials and political operatives came out of the woodwork on Tuesday to condemn the FBI search of former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate.

Why it matters: Figures like Rod Blagojevich, the former Democratic governor of Illinois who later described himself as a "Trumpocrat," and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort are intimately familiar with federal law enforcement tactics — and more likely than most to see FBI action against a public figure as politically motivated.

  • Both have described their own prosecutions as tainted by politics.

Driving the news: "Targeting political leaders by a weaponized and politicized DOJ is a criminal attack on our democracy. A tragic day for ALL Americans," tweeted Blagojevich, who did prison time after trying to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat.

  • Manafort, who is fresh out of federal prison after being prosecuted in the Mueller investigation, also weighed in.
  • "This is justice in the Biden administration," he lamented. "I predicted this in my book coming out on Aug 16, 'Political Prisoner: Persecuted, Prosecuted, but Not Silenced.'"
  • Trump pardoned Manafort and commuted Blagojevich's sentence during his final weeks in office.

The FBI raid also drew some scorn from Andrew Cuomo, the former Democratic New York governor who stepped down last year amid sexual harassment allegations he continues to deny.

  • "DOJ must immediately explain the reason for its raid & it must be more than a search for inconsequential archives," he tweeted.
  • Otherwise, "it will be viewed as a political tactic and undermine any future credible investigation & legitimacy of January 6 investigations."

Some more obscure disgraced ex-politicos also spoke up.

  • Don Blankenship, the former West Virginia coal executive who unsuccessfully ran for Senate in the state, devoted a whole email to the Trump raid on Tuesday.
  • "As a person who faced life in prison for charges DOJ knew I did not commit I sympathize with Trump," wrote Blankenship, who served a year in prison after an explosion at one of his company's coal mines killed 29 people.
Go deeper