Dem: Trump puts down 'the very institutions that keep us free'
© Camille Fine

Rep. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierDemocrats introduce bill to combat sexual harassment at State Department Overnight Defense: House to vote on military justice bill spurred by Vanessa Guillén death | Biden courts veterans after Trump's military controversies House to vote on 'I Am Vanessa Guillén' bill MORE (D-Calif.) sharply criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump signs bill averting shutdown after brief funding lapse Privacy, civil rights groups demand transparency from Amazon on election data breaches Facebook takes down Trump campaign ads tying refugees to coronavirus MORE on Tuesday for his repeated attacks against Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other FBI agents connected to the special counsel investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 elections.

Speaking on CNN, Speier said Tuesday that Trump was "constantly putting down the very institutions that keep us free."

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"I think the president has always used the same tactic," the California Democrat said. "When he is being attacked, when he is being scrutinized, he takes aim at someone else and that's what he's doing right here."

Trump "does not respect the rule of law," Speier said.

"Let's be really clear: This president does not respect the rule of law, nor does he respect the various agencies ... that are charged with the responsibility of protecting us," she said.

"If you think about the pattern over the last year, he is constantly putting down the very institutions that keep us free," she added.

Trump made headlines over the weekend when he attacked McCabe, who is possibly retiring in March. In several tweets, Trump needled McCabe over his handling of the investigation into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump crowd chants 'lock her up' about Omar as president warns of refugees in Minnesota Democrats say Biden survived brutal debate — and that's enough Comey defends FBI Russia probe from GOP criticism MORE's use of a private email server.

"How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?" the president tweeted. 

Other Democratic lawmakers have also criticized Trump's tweets attacking McCabe. Fellow California Rep. Ted Lieu (D) said Sunday that the messages were a "gift" to Robert Mueller's special counsel office.

“Trump’s Twitter feed is the gift that keeps on giving. Merry Christmas Robert Mueller,” Lieu tweeted.