Rand Paul calls for repeal of Espionage Act amid DOJ investigation into Trump taking classified documents to Mar-a-Lago

  • Rand Paul, a Republican senator for Kentucky, called for the repeal of the Espionage Act on Saturday.
  • The Espionage Act of 1917 prohibited sharing information that could harm the US.
  • Following the Mar-a-Lago raid, the DOJ is investigating if Trump violated the Espionage Act.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky called for the repeal of the Espionage Act after it was revealed that the Justice Department is investigating if former President Donald Trump potentially violated the Act.

“The Espionage Act was abused from the beginning to jail dissenters of WWI,” tweeted Paul. “It is long past time to repeal this egregious affront to the 1st Amendment.”


Paul shared a link to a 2019 article by Jacob Hornberger, a former Libertarian presidential candidate and founder of the Future of Freedom Foundation, which called the Espionage Act a “tyrannical law.”

The Espionage Act of 1917 dates back to World War I. Insider reported it was introduced to prohibit sharing information that could harm the US or advantage foreign adversaries.

A key facet of the act — Section 793 — is concerned with “gathering, transmitting or losing defense information,” which relates to any document relating to national defense that “through gross negligence” was “illegally removed from its proper place of custody … to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed.”

Earlier this week, federal investigators took away numerous boxes of documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida. According to an unsealed search warrant and an accompanying property receipt, the FBI seized 11 classified documents, including some marked top secret.

In a statement released Friday, Trump didn’t deny a report by The Washington Post that said he took nuclear documents to Mar-a-Lago.

The DOJ is now investigating if Trump violated Section 793 of the Espionage Act and potentially broke two other laws, according to the warrant unsealed by the department on Friday.

A  conviction under the Espionage Act carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.

Charles Booker, a Democrat Senate candidate who will face Paul in the general election, described the call for the repeal of the act as “shameful.”


“Rand Paul is now calling to repeal the Espionage Act after the world learned Donald Trump is under investigation for violating it,” Booker tweeted on Saturday night. “When I am elected to the Senate, you will never have to question my loyalty to our country.”