Trump’s Urging That Comey Jail Reporters Is Denounced as an ‘Act of Intimidation’

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During a private meeting in February with the former F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, President Trump floated a proposal that, even by the standards of a leader who routinely advertises his disdain for the news media, brought editors and reporters up short.

You should consider, Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey, jailing journalists who publish classified information.

Presidents are rarely afraid to wrangle and bully reporters, and Mr. Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama, was pilloried by news organizations for aggressively prosecuting leakers. But Mr. Trump’s suggestion, first reported by The New York Times, breached new territory for political reporters who already consider their profession under siege.

“Suggesting that the government should prosecute journalists for the publication of classified information is very menacing, and I think that’s exactly what they intend,” said Martin Baron, The Washington Post’s executive editor. “It’s an act of intimidation.”

The White House did not respond on Wednesday when asked if Mr. Trump supported imprisoning reporters who publish stories based on leaked material. The president’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, told reporters on Air Force One that Mr. Trum

p did not believe the Times article “was an accurate representation of that meeting.”

Mr. Trump often derides the coverage of him and his administration, even as he submits to interviews with a variety of journalists, including from news organizations that he attacks. He told graduates at the Coast Guard Academy on Wednesday that “no politician in history has been treated worse or more unfairly” by the media.

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