ACLU's David Cole decries Trump threats to civil liberties

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David Cole
David Cole, national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Courtesy Photo

During a speech in Minnesota, the national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, David Cole, said the Trump administration poses wide-ranging threats to civil rights, civil liberties and constitutional norms.

Cole urged continued citizen action to stand up for these rights and said we should not allow cynicism and hopelessness to overcome us.

Cole says he is optimistic these threats can be reversed through the actions of the American people who are in large numbers standing up — and speaking up — for the rights of others.

Cole said he is very concerned about the impact of technology and social media on our privacy. "The information that private companies have about us is one of the critical questions — whether privacy will continue to exist in the 21st century."

"It bothers me that the private companies can get it, but it bothers me a lot more that the government can get it, because the government has the ability to lock you up, to bring criminal charges against you, to use the coercive authority of the state against you."

Cole spoke Nov. 14, 2018, at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School, and was introduced by former Vice President Walter Mondale.

The question and answer session was conducted by University of Minnesota political science professor Larry Jacobs, and included comments from Walter Mondale.

To listen to the speech, click the audio player above.