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Dem invokes Trump in pushing for bill to protect journalists

Dem invokes Trump in pushing for bill to protect journalists
© Greg Nash

Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellSwalwell blasts Trump for holding rally during Hurricane Michael: ‘NOPE NOPE NOPE’ Dem lawmaker mocks conservative activist as a ‘mansplainer’ after criticism of Taylor Swift Dem rep mocks Trump’s attack on SNL MORE (D-Calif.) pushed for his new bill to protect journalists during an appearance on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” on Sunday, saying the legislation was important as President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'I don't trust everybody in the White House' JPMorgan CEO withdraws from Saudi conference Trump defends family separations at border MORE continues to attack the media.

"I really wish I didn't have to introduce this, but we have seen rhetoric from the president declaring the media as the 'enemy of the state,' " Swalwell said.

Trump has lashed out at the media during his campaign as well as his administration, including his “Fake News Awards” last month.

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Swalwell introduced his bill, titled the Journalist Protection Act, earlier this month. It would make it a federal crime to purposely cause bodily injury to a journalist or intimidate journalists to prevent them from doing their job.

The Democrat used the example of Rep. Greg GianforteGregory Richard GianforteKavanaugh secures votes needed for Senate confirmation Gianforte offers GOP senator plane to return for Kavanaugh vote Montana lawmakers cheer recommendation to ban mining north of Yellowstone MORE (R-Mont.), who pleaded guilty to body slamming Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs the day before he won the Montana special election last year, as a motivator for passing the bill.

"I'm afraid that many journalists will continue to come under attack, and I want to make sure that if its politically unpopular in a particular part of the country to prosecute someone who abuses a journalist that there's a federal backstop," Swalwell said Sunday.

However, he noted that his bill won’t stop anyone from criticizing the press as Trump has.

"Donald Trump can go along his way and continue to declare the press 'the enemy of the state.' That's not good for democracy, but that wouldn't be a crime here,” Swalwell said.