Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul called for the Espionage Act to be repealed as the Department of Justice is investigating whether former President Donald Trump mishandled classified materials under the 1917 law.
"The espionage act was abused from the beginning to jail dissenters of WWI. It is long past time to repeal this egregious affront to the 1st Amendment," Paul tweeted on Saturday, including a link to a 2019 article titled, "Repeal the Espionage Act" by Jacob G. Hornberger at the Future of Freedom Foundation.
The article described the Espionage Act as a "tyrannical law" that was enacted during World War I "not to punish people for spying but rather for criticizing the draft and the war."
Hornberger specifically defended WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange, who is facing prosecution under the Espionage Act for releasing what Hornberger describes as "a mountain of evidence disclosing the inner workings and grave wrongdoing on the part of the U.S. national-security establishment."
Paul's defense of the former president comes despite a tense relationship at times between the two.
The FBI raided Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida last week to try and find "physical documents with classification markings," information about national defense, and "any government and/or Presidential Records created between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021," according to a warrant from the agency.
In his defense, Trump said the documents he had were "all declassified" under a "standing order" that allowed him to take such materials to the White House residence so that he could continue working at night.