WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following yesterday’s news conference in which President Trump accused the news media of being dishonest, Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, today wrote to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) urging the committee to reconsider its vote earlier this week against including within the committee’s oversight plan for the 115th Congress an examination of attempts by the Trump Administration to undermine the freedom of the press.
On Wednesday, Congressman Cohen offered an amendment to include such an examination in the oversight plan, but it was defeated on a party-line vote 12-17.
“I have watched with mounting alarm how President Trump and his administration have sought to stifle the freedom of the press by only calling on conservative news outlets at press conferences and through a concerted campaign of intimidation and de-legitimization of the press,” said Congressman Cohen. “Chief White House strategist Steve Bannon has called the news media the ‘opposition party’ and the President has consistently referred to the media as ‘dishonest people’ and their reporting as ‘fake news.’ This was on display as recently as yesterday at President Trump’s press conference. A free press is an important check on power, and the only real checks we have left on the Trump Administration are the federal courts and the free press. I encourage Chairman Goodlatte to ensure that the press can do its part to keep our leaders honest and to keep our democracy functioning.”
In accordance with Rule X of the House of Representatives, the House Judiciary Committee is responsible for passing an Oversight Plan at the beginning of each Congress to determine whether the laws and programs within its jurisdiction are implemented and carried out in accordance with the intent of Congress.