Rand Paul calls for repeal of spy law as Trump fumes over FBI search

Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, called for the spying law to be repealed less than a week after the FBI issued a search warrant at former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence, with the legal document citing a provision of federal law that the alleged federal agency had been injured.

The FBI, with the approval of Attorney General Merrick Garland, conducted Monday’s raid on Trump’s resort town of Mar-a-Lago, searching for top-secret and sensitive individual information and other classified documents. Trump and his allies have condemned the crackdown, with the ex-president calling it part of a “hoax” and an ongoing “witch hunt” against him.

On Friday, the search warrant was unsealed, revealing that it cited potential violations of federal laws 18 USC 2071 – Concealment, Removal, or Mutilation, 18 USC 793 – Collection, Transmission, or Loss of Defense Information, and 18 USC 1519 – Destruction, alteration, or falsification of Records in federal investigations. Federal Law 18 USC 793 is part of the Espionage Act.

Edge Paul
Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, called for the spying law to be repealed in a Twitter post Saturday. Above: Paul participates in a Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight on Capitol Hill on August 3 in Washington, DC
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Paul, a supporter of the former president, opposed the espionage law in a Twitter post on Saturday.

“The Espionage Act was abused from the start to imprison World War I dissidents. The GOP senator included a link to a June 2019 article titled “Repeal the Espionage Act” published by the Future of Freedom Foundation.

news week has reached out to Paul’s press representative for comment.

The article shared by the senator, written by the foundation’s founder and president Jacob Hornberger, says the World War I-era law linked to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be repealed. Hornberger called the Espionage Act “a tyrannical law” that was enacted and used to “punish” political dissidents.

“Indeed, it is this World War I relic that US officials are now relying on to secure criminal charges against Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks boss who released a mountain of evidence revealing the inner workings and grave wrongdoing of the US citizen-security establishment, particularly in relation to the way it has forever conducted its undeclared wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan,” he wrote.

Paul has previously called for Assange to be granted immunity from prosecution.

“I think he should be granted immunity from prosecution if he comes to the United States and testifies,” the Kentucky Republican told The Gateway Pandit in August 2018. “I think he was someone who released a lot of information, and you can debate whether or not any of it did any harm, but I really think he has information that is likely to be used in hacking the emails of the Democrats are relevant and would be nice to hear.”

Paul’s Democratic opponent, former state congressman Charles Booker, slammed the GOP senator’s call for the federal law to be repealed.

“Rand Paul is now calling for the Espionage Act to be repealed after the world learned that Donald Trump is under investigation for violating him. If I am elected to the Senate, you must never question my loyalty to our country,” Booker tweeted on a Saturday.

“Rand Paul’s actions are shameful,” the Democratic nominee added in a follow-up post.

Paul also previously said without evidence that the FBI may have planted classified information in Mar-a-Lago during the raid. “Do I know that the crates of materials they took from Mar-a-Lago, that they will not put things in those crates to lock him up?” asked Paul during an interview with the Fox News Show fox & friends On Wednesday. “How do we know?”

It was first revealed in early February that the former president had illegally brought classified documents to his Florida home, with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) confirming it had searched for 15 boxes of records. The ex-president didn’t deny the story at the time and said there was a mix-up when his staff rushed him out of the White House.

After the boxes were returned to NARA, the collection raised additional concerns that the former president still had additional classified material. Federal investigators began questioning Trump associates to determine what had been stolen from the White House. The interviews and a wider investigation led by a US attorney led to a grand jury subpoena against Trump in late May to produce certain documents.

When the documents weren’t turned over, the FBI and Justice Department decided to take the unprecedented step of executing a search warrant on a former president. A federal judge approved the warrant, as required by due process, on the assumption that the FBI had established probable cause.

https://www.newsweek.com/rand-paul-calls-espionage-act-repeal-trump-fumes-over-fbi-search-1733488 Rand Paul calls for repeal of spy law as Trump fumes over FBI search

Rick Schindler

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