Espionage Act comes into focus as furor over Trump raid grows

by Jacob Fuller

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


In the ever-charged realm of American political discourse, it should surprise no one that a law created to quiet critics of Woodrow Wilson’s foreign policy during World War I has become a matter of intense debate in 2022.

After it was revealed last week that the FBI was angling to charge former President Donald Trump under the Espionage Act, legal experts were amazed that the Department of Justice had convinced a judge to allow agents to proceed with accumulating evidence to charge a former president as an anti-American agent.

“[The] huge big powder keg in this is the fact that the judge found probable cause to believe that there was a violation of the Espionage Act,” Ken Nawaday, a former federal prosecutor, said during an appearance on ABC News. He added, “What that means is that they think that there was mishandling of top-secret information that was transmitted to unauthorized persons.”

Republicans have argued the use of the Espionage Act is a political game, meant to rile Americans and further damage Trump’s chances at a 2024 bid for a return to the White House.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), though, has taken the criticism a step farther, arguing that the Espionage Act should be abolished even absent the current Trump case.




In the same tweet, Paul shared a link to the Future of Freedom Foundation, a pro-liberty, pro-free-market, pro-private-property-rights, and pro-limited-government organization that has pushed for a repeal of the Espionage Act for at least three years.

“It’s time to acknowledge that the horror of U.S. intervention into World War I and the horrible consequences of that intervention,” foundation president and founder Jacob G. Hornberger wrote in 2019. “It’s also time to rid our nation of the horrific relic of that intervention, the Espionage Act. We need to continue demanding the dismissal of all charges against [Julian] Assange. But let’s not stop there. Let’s repeal the tyrannical World War I-era Espionage Act under which he is being charged to ensure that this cannot happen to others.”

Paul’s stance has been ill-received by the left. In making it, however, he continued something of a family legacy. Former representative and presidential candidate Ron Paul, the senator’s father, made his name criticizing American institutions, most notably the Federal Reserve.




The younger Paul’s call has been widely panned by legacy media journalists and people on Twitter, the words of whom can be read on Yahoo!News. The consensus on the left is that Paul is attempting to revoke a law that people on the left believe Trump has broken.

It is impossible for members of the general public to have an educated opinion one way or another about whether Trump violated the Espionage Act, as the Department of Justice has not yet filed charges or released any real details about what it found in its investigation or raid. However, one need not look far to find evidence that the raid has refractured the perpetually divided American body politic.

People on the right are voicing ever-louder discontent about Attorney General Merrick Garland, the Justice Department, and the FBI.

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.), a former FBI agent, told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he’d had his life threatened.

“I think everybody needs to be calling for calm, everybody across the board,” Fitzpatrick said. “And everybody needs to respect our law enforcement, whether they be local, state, or federal. I’m very concerned … for the safety of our law enforcement officers, especially right now.”

“I urge all my colleagues, and we’ve seen disrespect … across the political spectrum … which I mentioned with local law enforcement, with the Supreme Court, now federal law enforcement. None of it is okay. None of it,” Fitzpatrick said.

Recently, Trump said he’d reached out to the Justice Department in an effort to help ease national tensions.

“The country is in a very dangerous position. There is tremendous anger, like I’ve never seen before, over all of the scams, and this new one — years of scams and witch hunts, and now this,” Trump said during an appearance on Fox News. “If there is anything we can do to help, I, and my people, would certainly be willing to do that.”