Democratic Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut said on CNN’s “New Day” Monday that the White House staffer who wrote an op-ed for The New York Times is protected by the First Amendment.
Host John Berman asked Himes if any laws were broken with the publishing of the op-ed. Himes said the staffer’s right to free speech shields them from any consequences. (RELATED: Jim Himes Predicts Terrible Fate For Anyone Who Challenges Mueller Or Comey)
“Of course not,” Himes replied. “Americans don’t sacrifice their First Amendment rights just because they go to work in the White House.”
Himes said no classified information was released so no crime was committed. He accused the White House of grasping at straws to frame the debate in its favor.
“Revealing classified information, of course, is a crime. There’s no allegations that there was classified information released there. So now, this just feels like another sort of shot in the dark by the White House.”
Himes also said he’s baffled by the staffer’s decision to write the op-ed in the first place and claimed it may only further provoke the president.
“Was it a good idea? I keep scratching my head asking myself ‘what was the individual trying to achieve,'” he concluded.
“It worries me, watching the president closely as I do, that provoking this guy, particularly as we go into an election that could have an outcome that is not good for him, is a little bit of a scary thing. But no, the idea that a law was broken is just crazy.”
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