BLOOMINGTON, Ind.–Shortly after the raid by the FBI on former Pres. Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, many Republicans stated they believed the FBI was being used against Trump to keep him from being able to run for office again. While that possibility can’t be immediately ruled out, an Indiana University Political Science professor says there’s also no immediate evidence to prove that’s what was happening.
“Well, it’s not impossible. But, there’s no evidence to support the claim,” said Prof. Aaron Dusso, who specializes in U.S. politics and elections classes on the Bloomington campus.
But, he said there is historical precedent where the FBI has been used against people as a political tool.
“Historically there are examples, going back to the post World War II-era,” he said. “There is examples where it appeared that the FBI was being used politically. That’s why I say it’s not impossible. But, before we jump to conclusions, we like to see some type of evidence.”
LISTEN: Prof. Aaron Dusso talks the Trump raid and historical precedent
While the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee sent a letter to FBI Director Chris Wray, demanding a briefing on the matter, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) Tweeted about the raid.
“Democrats will do anything and everything they can to prevent Donald Trump’s name from ever being on the ballot again. No one has ever exposed their corruption more than he has,” he Tweeted. “One set of rules for anyone named Biden or Clinton. Different set of rules for the rest of us.”
Still, Dusso does not believe the raid itself will have an effect on any possible campaign by the former president.
“I don’t think so. Without indictments I don’t think it will make much of a difference at all, actually,” he said. “I don’t see the FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago as being a problem for him right now. If it leads to indictments and there’s a trial and that kind of thing, sure. That could be a problem.”
Dusso also said he doesn’t believe the publicity will change attitudes.
“If you’re a Republican you’re gonna think one way and if you’re a Democrat you’re gonna think one way. I don’t think it’s gonna change anyone’s mind.”
He said the same thing about the January 6th Committee, saying that there’s a reason to believe that at a minimum they’re just trying to figure out what happened, though many Republicans, like Banks, believe it’s a one-sided sham, meant to get at the former president.
Dusso leaves room for that.
“And perhaps there are some nefarious motivations on part of the people that are on this committee to try and get Trump. But, in the end I think most people would just-we want to know. How did this happen and why?”