William Barr, President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, on Tuesday suggested that journalists could be put in jail if they “hurt the country” with their reporting.
At a Senate confirmation hearing, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) asked for the nominee’s view on protections for a free press.
“I want to ask you something that I asked Attorney General [Jeff Sessions],” Klobuchar said. “If you’re confirmed, will the Justice Department jail reporters for doing their jobs?”
“I can conceive of situations where as a last resort and a news organization has run through a red flag or something like that, knows that they’re putting out stuff that will hurt the country,” Barr said, “there might be a situation where someone would be held in contempt.”
Spencer Ackerman, a national security reporter for The Daily Beast, called Barr’s answer “disturbing.”
Disturbing answer by Barr on jailing reporters. Says he can conceive of circumstances where "as a last resort" & where a news organization "knows they are putting stuff out where they’re hurting the country," which puts the legal onus on publishers.
— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) January 15, 2019
Watch the video below from C-SPAN.