Sarah Sanders held her first White House press briefing in nearly three weeks, and reporters told her to her face that the anonymous New York Times op-ed from someone who works in the White House was not against the law.
Q: Sarah, you said a lot and the president has said a lot about the publication of this op-ed. The vice president called it a betrayal. You called it an act of disloyalty. But the president has been mentioned quite a few times, even here in this briefing, and has called on the department of justice to investigate the publication of this op-ed. There is no violation of the criminal code that goes along with the publication of this op-ed, so I’m a little curious as to what it is that the president believes may have been violated in the law as it relates to the publication of this op-ed piece?
Sanders: Once again, we would consider someone who is actively trying to undermine the executive branch of our government inappropriately and certainly something to cause concern, and they should take a look at it.
Q: What violation?
Sanders: We’re just saying this is a great level of concern and they should look into it.
Q: It’s not a violation of the law. Just being concerned is not a violation of the law.
Sanders: I’m not an attorney. It’s the department of justice to make that determination and we’re asking them to look into it and make that determination, and they certainly are fully capable of doing that. But someone actively trying to undermine the duly elected president and the entire executive branch of government, that seems quite problematic to me and something they should take a look at.
Trump is trying to use the DOJ to attack the First Amendment
Sarah Sanders is voicing Trump‘s argument that the First Amendment is against the law. Trump is suggesting an attack on free speech. The NYT op-ed was a textbook definition of the First Amendment in action. A US citizen criticized their government in public. The American people have a right to criticize their government.
The reason why the pushback at the briefing was so strong on the op-ed is that journalists can see what Trump is trying to do. Trump wants to use the DOJ to prevent others from speaking out. Trump is trying to suppress free speech.
The free press isn’t going to sit back and take it, and you see reporters challenge Trump‘s authoritarian fantasy every time that they have the chance.
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Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association