White House blasts Trump for calling to jail journalists who broke draft abortion decision

20 January 2023

(The Hill) — The White House on Friday said that former President Donald Trump calling for the jailing of the journalists who published a leaked draft opinion showing the Supreme Court was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade is an insult to the rule of law.

“The freedom of the press is part of the bedrock of American democracy. Calling for egregious abuses of power in order to suppress the Constitutional rights of reporters is an insult to the rule of law and undermines fundamental American values and traditions,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said.

He added that the views held by Trump, without naming him by name, are not part of who the United States is as a country.

“Instead, it’s the responsibility of all leaders to protect First Amendment rights. These views are not who we are as a country, and they are what we stand against in the world,” Bates said.

Federal judge sanctions Trump, attorneys over $900,000 for ‘a continuing pattern of misuse of the courts’

Trump’s comments followed the Supreme Court making public on Thursday a report detailing an investigation into the leak of the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. It indicated it was unable to identify the source of the leak to Politico last spring, when reporters Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward published a blockbuster report on a draft opinion penned by Justice Samuel Alito.

“They’ll never find out, & it’s important that they do,” Trump wrote in a post on his Truth Social website. “So, go to the reporter & ask him/her who it was. If not given the answer, put whoever in jail until the answer is given. You might add the editor and publisher to the list.”

Following Politico’s report last spring, Republicans in Congress and conservative media figures expressed outrage over the leak, and Trump had suggested in June that the Supreme Court “go to the reporter” who published the draft opinion to find the source of the leak.

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