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GOP Rep. Jim Jordan Touts Bill Protecting Press Freedoms: ‘You Cannot Go After the Reporter’

Republican Rep. Jim Jordan  (OH) — who was the founding chair of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus — is working with Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD) to pass a bipartisan bill protecting journalists, as the GOP lawmaker’s intent is to  “shield reporters from having freedom of the press rights violated.”

The two appeared on CNN’s New Day this morning to discuss their bill, with Raskin pointing to the famous Thomas Jefferson quote in which the founding father said if he had to choose between “a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

“We cannot survive as a Republic without a free press,” added Raskin, who also referenced concerns over how Attorney General Jeff Sessions might prosecute journalists if this bill is not passed.

Jordan promoted the bill, the Free Flow of Information Act, by outlining concerns he had with the federal government going after New York Times reporter Ali Watson, who was in a romantic relationship with a former staffer of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“Ali Watson had all of her material just grabbed,” Jordan said. “It is not supposed to work that way — that is not how the First Amendment operates, and my concern is we have seen so many encroachments on our liberties from the government.”

He continued:

“So when Jamie came and said, ‘Let’s shield reporters from having freedom of the press rights violated,’ I said I’m all in. And we have this situation develop just two weeks ago with Ms. Watson and the former Senate Intelligence staffer. So this is why this is so important. We are looking to have hearings on this and get this passed. We are picking up cosponsors every day.”

Jordan concluded by saying that the government should go after those who leak classified information, but added, “You cannot go after the reporter, the freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom to practice your faith — this is the First Amendment for goodness sake, so you cannot do that.”

“Go after the person who leaked, I’m all for that — but not the reporter,” said the lawmaker.

Watch above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

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Caleb Ecarma was a reporter at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter here: @calebecarma