The alleged wiretaps on phones belonging to President Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen raise civil liberties concerns, attorney and law professor Alan Dershowitz said.
Dershowitz was on MSNBC on Thursday afternoon reacting to news that suggested the FBI listened in on Cohen's conversations and read his emails — including at least one phone call that came from the White House.
"I think we are moving closer and closer to the surveillance state, where phone calls are tapped, where emails are secured without a real basis," Dershowitz said. "I think prosecutors should not be seeking wiretaps on lawyers' offices and search warrants and subpoenas for lawyers, email files, unless they have very substantial evidence of very serious crimes.
"Campaign contributions don't qualify for the kind of crime that should justify the wiretapping of a lawyer."
Dershowitz went on to point out civil liberties groups have not said a word about any of the developments in the Russia investigation, which began last year amid allegations the Trump campaign might have colluded with Russia.
"Where is the American Civil Liberties Union on this? Where are civil libertarians?" he said. "We live in such a partisan atmosphere — get Trump at any cost — that we are prepared to give up our basic civil liberties in exchange for getting Trump."
Ultimately, Dershowitz — a self-described civil libertarian who voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the last presidential election — said he does not have much faith in the government or judges anymore.
"I do not trust the government," he said. "I do not trust judges. I do not trust prosecutors when they are zealously seeking to go after a particular target, in this case [President] Donald Trump. Nobody would have been going after Michael Cohen if he weren't Donald Trump's lawyer. That's the reality."
Federal authorities also raided Cohen's offices, apartment, and hotel room last month as they reportedly investigate him for fraud and campaign finance allegations stemming from at least one payment he made to a woman who claimed to have had an affair with Trump 10 years ago.
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