Rep. Don Bacon broke from his GOP colleagues Sunday, saying that while he feels there’s a double standard inside the Justice Department when it comes to Republicans, former President Donald Trump was wrong to allegedly keep classified documents after leaving office.
The Nebraska Republican, who represents a swing district and frequently bucks his party, argued that “two wrongs don’t make a right.”
“I personally thought Hillary Clinton was wrong for having thousands of emails on her private server that I guarantee you that Russia and China could penetrate and read some of those emails that were top secret. I thought she should have been held more accountable,” Mr. Bacon said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I think a lot of our voters see or perceive these inconsistencies. But two wrongs don’t make a right.”
Ms. Clinton did not face any criminal charges for allegedly mishandling classified materials as secretary of state under President Obama.
Mr. Trump pleaded not guilty earlier this month in a Miami courthouse to 37 charges of willful retention of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate and obstruction of justice. The government alleges he refused to return all of the materials and tried to conceal their whereabouts.
Speaking to a group of conservative Christian activists in Washington, Mr. Trump argued Saturday that “every document the president decides to take with him, he has the absolute right to take them.”
“He has the absolute right to keep them or he can give them back to [National Archives and Records Administration] if he wants,” he said.
Legal experts have said that is not the case, which ultimately led to the criminal charges as a result of special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation.
Prosecutors say they have an audio recording of Mr. Trump admitting he kept classified materials after leaving the White House.
“You can’t have hundreds of top-secret information and be showing our attack plans on Iran to non-cleared people,” Mr. Bacon said. “Our party does best when we stand on the rule of law, the truth of the principles that made our party strong. And if we walk away from that, we’ll be weakened in the short run.”