Republican Sen. Tim Scott said he was shocked but would not rush to judgment after the FBI searched former President Donald Trump'sin Florida, a major escalation of the Justice Department's probe into potential mishandling of White House records.
"We need to let this play out and see exactly what happens. But we should have been stunned and surprised and shocked with what happened yesterday," the South Carolina senator said Tuesday on "CBS Mornings."
Sources told CBS News the search was linked to an investigation of claims by the National Archives that it found, including , at Mar-a-Lago. The National Archives said some of the records Trump turned over earlier this year had been .
Scott said there are many questions about whether the FBI "is doing their job apolitical" and that an unprecedented search of a former president's home "is going to raise more questions."
"It has to be of incredible magnitude for at least my side of the aisle to say that was warranted," he said. "Without that, I think we're going to find ourselves in a very big mess as it relates to the credibility of the FBI."
Scott's comments come as Trump's closest allies attack the FBI for targeting the former president. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, for instance, said Republicans would "conduct immediate oversight of this department, follow the facts and leave no stone unturned" if the party wins a majority in the upcoming midterm elections.
The Justice Department and the FBI have declined to comment. A senior White House official told CBS News that the West Wing was not told about the Mar-a-Lago search ahead of time.
Scott, who is running for reelection this fall, is often floated as a possible candidate for president in 2024. But he declined to discuss any presidential hopes and said he was focused on his reelection campaign.
He is also the author of a new book, "America, a Redemption Story: Choosing Hope, Creating Unity," in which he discusses his vision for the U.S., talks about his relationship with Trump and shares his experience running from rioters during theon Jan. 6, 2021.
Scott would not directly answer Tuesday whether Trump is the best candidate for the Republican Party, but he called the former president the "largest voice" in U.S. politics.
"And it looks like he'll continue to be," Scott said. "The more focus you put on him, the more likely his supporters will rally around him... The truth is, he is without a question the most powerful voice in all of politics and that's why so many people left and right continue to focus on President Trump."
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