U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz both said the FBI's raid on President Donald Trump's personal lawyer should worry all Americans — as the same thing could happen to any U.S. citizen in violation of civil liberties.
Paul first asked Fox News on Tuesday what the FBI's raid for documents in Michael Cohen's office related to the alleged affair between Trump and adult film star Stormy Daniels has to do with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian collusion in the 2016 election.
“I thought the special prosecutor was investigating Russian collusion," Paul told Fox News. "Going after someone’s personal attorney is a great overstep, I think, in the authority of the prosecutor."
Paul added that he believed Mueller “has abused his authority" and that "this is why I have opposed, really, having special prosecutors for almost anything because I think they abuse their authority ... so I think this investigation no longer has much to do with Russia."
What warning did Paul give to Americans — particularly Trump haters?
He then issued a warning to Americans who "don’t like the president" and believe the raid was "just fine because it’s against President Trump," noting that the raid represents "an enormous power that can be used against anybody.”
“Remember what [Democratic U.S. Sen.] Chuck Schumer said a couple of months ago? ... ‘If you cross the intelligence agencies, they can screw you six ways to Sunday.' This is about enormous power, prosecutorial power, but also power in the intelligence communities," Paul added. "We have to rein this in, or every American citizen is exposed to this kind of abuse of power.”
Paul also said Trump's "witch hunt" assessment of the FBI raid is "right."
What did Dershowitz have to say about the FBI raid?
Dershowitz in an op-ed for The Hill outlined his take on the legalities of the FBI raid and noted significantly that if it "relates to payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels, that would not seem to justify so potentially intrusive a search of Cohen’s confidential lawyer-client files."
More from his op-ed:
Civil libertarians should be concerned whenever the government interferes with the lawyer-client relationship. Clients should be able to rely on confidentiality when they disclose their most intimate secrets in an effort to secure their legal rights. A highly publicized raid on the president’s lawyer will surely shake the confidence of many clients in promises of confidentiality by their lawyers. They will not necessarily understand the nuances of the confidentiality rules and their exceptions. They will see a lawyer’s office being raided and all his files seized.
I believe we would have been hearing more from civil libertarians — the American Civil Liberties Union, attorney groups and privacy advocates — if the raid had been on Hillary Clinton’s lawyer. Many civil libertarians have remained silent about potential violations of President Trump’s rights because they strongly disapprove of him and his policies. That is a serious mistake, because these violations establish precedents that lie around like loaded guns capable of being aimed at other targets.
I have been widely attacked for defending the constitutional rights of a president I voted against. In our hyperpartisan age, everyone is expected to choose a side, either for or against Trump. But the essence of civil liberties is that they must be equally applicable to all. The silence among most civil libertarians regarding the recent raid shows that we are losing that valuable neutrality.
Dershowitz concluded his op-ed by saying "remember that prosecutorial tactics used today against President Trump may tomorrow be used against Democrats — and even against you."
He also discussed the FBI raid with Sean Hannity. The relevant portion begins at the 1:45 mark: