Dem senator: GOP prepared to compromise the 'rule of law’ to protect Trump

Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinProposed bipartisan kidney legislation takes on kidney disease epidemic in America Lawmakers raise security concerns about China building NYC subway cars House votes to boost retirement savings MORE (D-Md.) said on Thursday that Republicans are ready to compromise the rule of law to protect President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE by releasing a GOP-crafted memo alleging what some members of the party have called “shocking” surveillance abuses at the Department of Justice.

"There used to be a time that Democrats and Republicans joined together to protect the FBI, the Department of Justice, but it looks like the Republicans are prepared to compromise our rule of law system in order to protect the president," Cardin told CNN's Alisyn Camerota on "New Day." 

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"This to me is very sad and dangerous. We're talking about defending the rule of law, defending the independence of the Department of Justice. You would think that Congress would stand up for the independence of the Department of Justice," he continued. 

The House Intelligence Committee voted on Monday to release the four-page memo, which was drafted by the committee's chairman, Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesHillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data Lawmakers grapple with deepfake threat at hearing Intel hearing showcases political divide over Mueller report MORE (R-Calif.).

The document reportedly contains allegations of improper FBI surveillance of Trump campaign communications.

Trump will decide whether to approve or reject its release. 

The president was heard reassuring Rep. Jeff DuncanJeffrey (Jeff) Darren DuncanHouse conservatives want information on TSA policies for undocumented immigrants 58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill Overnight Defense: NATO chief urges US to support alliance on its 70th anniversary | Turkey rebuffs Pentagon pressure over Russia deal | Rand Paul, liberals team up to push Trump on Syria withdrawal MORE (R-S.C.) after his State of the Union address on Tuesday, saying the memo would "100 percent" be released. 

Democrats argue that the memo contains classified information and should not be made public.