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Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: ‘No President Gets to Jail Journalists’

May 17, 2017, 12:59 AM UTC

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press released a strong statement following after New York Times reported that President Trump told former FBI Director James Comey he should consider imprisoning journalists who report classified information.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Trump had asked Comey to halt the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, citing a memo from the former FBI Director, a claim the White House denied despite multiple outlets confirming the reporting. But included in that report was the detail that Trump had lamented leaks to the media when he was in the Oval Office with Comey, and he should consider incarcerating journalists.
“The comments attributed to President Trump cross a dangerous line. But no president gets to jail journalists. Reporters are protected by judges and juries, by a congress that relies on them to stay informed, and by a Justice Department that for decades has honored the role of a free press by spurning prosecutions of journalists for publishing leaks of classified information,” said Reporters Committee Executive Director Bruce Brown. “Comments such as these, emerging in the way they did, only remind us that every day public servants are reaching out to reporters to ensure the public is aware of the risks today to rule of law in this country. The president’s remarks should not intimidate the press but inspire it.”