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

Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinWarren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses Overnight Energy: EPA moves to raise ethanol levels in gasoline | Dems look to counter White House climate council | Zinke cleared of allegations tied to special election Democrats offer legislation to counter White House climate science council MORE (D-Md.) said on Thursday that Republicans are ready to compromise the rule of law to protect President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate GOP budget ignores Trump, cuts defense Trump says he'll nominate Stephen Moore to Fed White House: ISIS territory in Syria has been 100 percent eliminated 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: EU hits Google with .7 billion antitrust fine | GOP steps up attack over tech bias claims | Dems ask FTC for budget wishlist | Justices punt on Google privacy settlement Devin Nunes 'cow' parody account overtakes Nunes in Twitter followers MSNBC's Hayes on Nunes's Twitter lawsuit: US 'almost literally founded on mocking political leaders' 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 DuncanThe 23 Republicans who voted against the anti-hate resolution House passes anti-hate measure amid Dem tensions House conservatives want ethics probe into Dems' handling of Kavanaugh allegations 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.