Former President Donald Trump is more likely to run for president again in 2024 than he was two weeks ago before FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, his former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said on Newsmax on Friday.
"I think Donald Trump was damaged politically by the Jan. 6 committee," Mulvaney said on Newsmax's "National Report." "People have been stunned to see his behavior on Jan. 6 and the run-up to the riots and so forth. But he's earned a great deal of sympathy over the course of the last two weeks since the raid, and I think rightly so."
The unprecedented raid has made people believe even more that the FBI has "politicized, weaponized, to harm a political opponent of the current administration," Mulvaney said. "I think they may be right."
There are many theories about the reasoning behind the search, including an attempt to keep Trump from seeking election in 2024, but Mulvaney said he doesn't "think there is a plan" behind the Democrats' actions.
"Don't ever assume a strategy where pure incompetence will explain things," said Mulvaney. "I don't think there's a plan to what the Democrats are doing, especially in the Jan. 6 committee."
Mulvaney also said Friday that he thinks the affidavit used to support the FBI's search warrant for Trump's house should be released, but there is no need to release it in its entirety and include the names of people involved in the investigation.
"What I'm interested in seeing is why did the FBI think that this was so unusual and so extraordinary?" Mulvaney said. "What was so special about this that they had to invade a former president's home … as I've said several times before, if there was a dead body, then that's one thing, but if they were only going in looking for documents, that's going to be a problem, and it's a problem that even the left recognizes."
Trump's defense team has said that he had declassified documents taken from the Oval Office, but Mulvaney, as his former chief of staff, said it's not that simple.
"I was surprised by some of the reporting on some of the comments by some of the president's inner circle," he said. "Yes, any president of the United States has broad authority to declassify documents. That being said, there's a formal structure to doing that. You can't just sort of stand over a box of documents, wave your hand and say these are all declassified. That's not how the system works."
And, he said, if Trump wants to make the declassification argument part of his defense, "there would be a paper trail that I think will be incumbent" for him to bring out.
Mulvaney also on Friday said he agrees with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that the Senate could have difficulty switching back to a GOP majority because of some of the "quality" of some of the candidates running.
"I'll be a little bit more candid than he is," he said. "I think that's still likely the Republicans take the House. It's growing less and less likely that Republicans take the Senate because they have bad candidates in Georgia and Pennsylvania.... As I told the president many, many times that if you win a primary and lose a general, you're still a loser. And right now our candidates in Georgia and Pennsylvania are not doing extraordinarily well."
It's also hard to run for office and win when you've never run before, as is the case in Pennsylvania with Dr. Mehmet Oz and in Georgia with Herschel Walker, so "there's a good chance for Democrats to retain the Senate as a result," Mulvaney said.
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Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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