Utah Gov. Spencer Cox criticizes DOJ for lack of information about search of former President Donald Trump’s residence

During an interview with the Washington Post, Utah’s governor said nobody should be above the law, but Trump is no ordinary American citizen.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Gov. Spencer Cox at a news conference at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 29, 2022. Cox criticized last week's search of former President Donald Trump's home at Mar-a-Lago during an interview with The Washington Post on Aug. 16, 2022, saying the FBI and Department of Justice owe the American public an explanation.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox attempted to walk a fine rhetorical line on Tuesday afternoon when reacting to the FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago last week. On the one hand, he says nobody is above the law, but on the other hand, Trump is no ordinary citizen.

During a wide-ranging online discussion with the Washington Post, Cox said he was critical of the FBI and Justice Department’s decision to execute a search warrant on Trump because very little information was given to the public, keeping them in the dark.

“This is a former president of the United States, and we have to live in a practical reality. This is very different. You have to give as much information as you can from the beginning. You have to be a completely open book. The stakes are too high, and the potential negative results are far too damaging,” Cox said.

That lack of information, according to Cox, has led to an “information vacuum” that is inevitably filled with bad information. The governor scolded the media for, what he called, hours of baseless speculation about the search. Cox said the absence of details has led to Republicans criticizing the FBI and DOJ and accusing them, without evidence, of using the search to enact political retribution against Trump.

“The Biden administration should never use the DOJ and the FBI to punish their political enemies. By the same token, a Republican administration should not use these levers of power to punish their political enemies. I think we should withhold any judgment until we know what we’re actually talking about, and then we should deeply scrutinize exactly what is happening,” Cox said.

The Republican governor was asked about his support of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, leaving regulation of abortion up to individual states.

“My hope is that now, through the laboratories of democracy, that over time, we will be able to find a balance and a better way of figuring out this tug and pull that is happening between people like me who believe there is life before birth and those who that believe there should be a right to abortion,” Cox replied.

Right now, Utah bans abortions after 18 weeks, while a more restrictive law that bans nearly all abortions remains on hold pending a court challenge.

In the wake of the Supreme Court decision, Cox has pledged to do more to support pregnant women and mothers. He said Tuesday he does not have any concrete proposals. One policy Cox mentioned he wants to focus on is holding men accountable and responsible for children.

“There are too many men that fail in their responsibility to that woman and that child. That’s where the help comes in, making sure they’re getting monetary help from the people who should be equally responsible for the creation of that life,” Cox said.