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Democrats Have Developed a Newfound Appreciation for the Espionage Act

AP Photo/Terry Renna

As I always say: You can tell whether a person truly believes what they say by watching how they behave when it is not politically convenient. When you apply this principle to how the left is reacting to the news that the FBI is investigating former President Donald Trump for supposed violations of the Espionage Act, it is not difficult to see that their prior opposition to the law wasn’t quite sincere.

Democrats and their comrades in the activist media are absolutely thrilled that the FBI is investigating the former president under the Espionage Act. They are giddy at the thought of Trump possibly being indicted or damaged enough politically to stay out of the 2024 presidential election. But some have noted the apparent hypocrisy.

Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, a Democrat, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that “in the past, many leftists and civil libertarians have railed against the breadth and scope of this law, calling it repressive and unconstitutionally vague.”

He continued:

“But now that the shoe is on the other foot— now that the same law is being deployed against a possible presidential candidate they deplore— many of these same leftists are demanding that this accordion-like law be expanded to fit Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified material.”

The article points out that the Espionage Act has “been used to crack down on journalists who leak classified government documents to the press, and was used against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning.”

Dershowitz also pointed out that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has opposed the law on constitutional grounds. But now, it appears they have adopted a “mum’s the word” policy when it comes to the law being used against the Orange Man What Is Bad™.

When commenting on the indictment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the ACLU wrote:

“For the first time in the history of our country, the government has brought criminal charges against a publisher for the publication of truthful information. This is an extraordinary escalation of the Trump administration’s attacks on journalism, and a direct assault on the First Amendment. It establishes a dangerous precedent that can be used to target all news organizations that hold the government accountable by publishing its secrets.”

Ah, so the Espionage Act is bad when the Trump administration uses it, but not when it is used against President Trump.

The Brennan Center for Justice also criticized the Espionage Act when Chelsea Manning was charged for leaking state secrets to WikiLeaks. But now, they are about as vocal about it as a mime.

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich has also embraced the Espionage Act. He tweeted:

It’s telling when news about you pleading the Fifth over 400 times during a deposition about financial fraud is overshadowed by the FBI raiding your home during an unrelated investigation into violations of the Espionage Act.

What is even more interesting is that Democrats are currently haranguing conservatives for speaking out against the FBI. They point to calls to “Defund the FBI” as a display of hypocrisy given their opposition to the “Defund the Police” movement. But what they fail to realize is that many – if not most – conservatives have been giving the Bureau the side eye for years. This was especially true when it became apparent that the agency was being used against Trump back in 2016.

Additionally, Democrats seem to be completely oblivious to the fact that they also have a newfound appreciation for the FBI, now that it is going after the former president. If there is hypocrisy on both sides here, it is clearly far more distinct on the left.

Democrats’ current love affair with the Espionage Act will likely subside after this whole situation blows over and it is no longer politically useful to them. When it comes to attacking Trump, these people have absolutely no qualms with throwing off the principles they pretend to have.

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