President Donald Trump last week suggested that he’d like to somehow use the Federal Communications Commission as a tool to silence media he doesn’t appreciate. But comments made by Trump’s Attorney General Wednesday suggest it may be the Justice Department that free speech advocates should fear.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited the Senate Judiciary Committee was asked by Minnesota Democrat Sen. Amy Klobuchar if he would “commit to not putting reporters in jail for doing their jobs?”
Sessions’ answer wasn’t exactly thrilling for 1st Amendment purists.
“I don’t know if I can make a blanket commitment to that effect, but I would say we have not taken any aggressive action against the media at this point,” Sessions said.
He added: “We have matters that involve the most serious national security issues that put our country at risk. We will utilize the authorities we have legally and constitutionally if we have to. We always try to find an alternative way, as you probably know … to directly confronting media persons. But that’s not a total blanket protection.”
“National security” doesn’t trump the 1st Amendment, though it is a term Americans hear every time we lose some rights. And “ have not taken any aggressive action against the media at this point,” certainly isn’t reassuring for a county where the first law on the books guarantees press freedom.
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