Fox reporter confronts Sarah Sanders over NYT op-ed: What’s the crime?
Trump press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stunned even a Fox News reporter by repeating Trump’s demand for the Justice Department to investigate the identity of an anonymous senior Trump official who wrote an opinion piece criticizing Trump.
At Monday’s White House briefing, Sanders faced reporters for the first time since that now-infamous New York Times op-ed was published. The article revealed that senior Trump officials routinely ignore or disobey Trump in order to avert disaster.
Fox News Radio correspondent Jon Decker had some very pointed questions for Sanders about Trump’s shocking call for a federal investigation.
“There is no violation of the criminal code that goes along with the publication of this op-ed,” Decker pointed out. “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 publication of this op-ed piece?”
Sanders responded that the Department of Justice “should look into it.”
“We would consider someone who is actively trying to undermine the executive branch of our government inappropriate, and something certainly to cause concern, and they [the DOJ] should look into it,” Sanders said.
“What’s the criminal violation?” Decker pressed.
Sanders couldn’t name a single crime the op-ed writer may have committed. Instead, she just repeated that the DOJ “should look into it.”
Sanders tried to call on another reporter, but Decker cut in.
“That’s not a violation of the law,” he said. “Just having a ‘concern’ is not a violation of the law.”
“I’m not an attorney,” Sanders said. “It’s [on] the Department of Justice to determine — to make that determination.”
The op-ed piece in question, authored by an anonymous senior Trump administration official who claims to be “part of the resistance” inside the administration, claims that “many of the senior officials in [Trump’s] own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
As other reporters pointed out during the briefing, the op-ed is protected by the First Amendment. That makes Trump’s crackdown efforts all the more undemocratic and chilling.
Vice President Mike Pence and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway were similarly grilled over the weekend as to what crime Trump thinks was committed.
They couldn’t come up with an answer either.
Trump’s demand for a federal investigation into criticism from his own administration officials is such a gross abuse of power, even Fox News reporters won’t stand for it.