Trump’s ‘Outrageous Assault’ On Free Press And The First Amendment Draws The Wrath Of Ex-CIA Chief

The former director of both the CIA and the National Security Agency expresses outrage over Trump’s weekend Tweet attacking the free press and the First Amendment.

True to form, Trump took to Twitter over the weekend, tweeting:

.@FoxNews is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside of the U.S., CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them!

CNN was quick to respond, tweeting: “It’s not CNN‘s job to represent the U.S to the world. That’s yours. Our job is to report the news. #FactsFirst.”

Then, on Monday, CNN reported that “Former CIA and National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden criticized President Donald Trump’s attack of CNN, saying he could not believe a President was capable of ‘such an outrageous assault’ on a free press or the First Amendment.”

Hayden’s tweet was a response to one by John E. McLaughlin, the former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence and former Acting Director of Central Intelligence, whose CIA career spanned more than 30 years beginning in 1972 during Richard Nixon’s administration.

McLaughlin tweeted, “If you favor CNN OR Fox and are not dismayed by this, you may now be numb and no longer capable of outrage. Scary if that’s our new normal.”

Hayden, a retired Air Force Four-Star general who served under the past three administrations, responded:

If this is who we are or who we are becoming, I have wasted 40 years of my life. Until now it was not possible for me to conceive of an American President capable of such an outrageous assault on truth, a free press or the first amendment.

Continuing his response to McLaughlin, Hayden tweeted:

Compare to Jefferson “were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter”.

Hayden also responded to Neal Katyal, a Supreme Court lawyer and Professor of National Security Law at Georgetown University Law Center, who tweeted:

General, you have not wasted 1 day in your 40 years. Those years were important in their own right, protecting us, now they vest you with the unique vantage point to remind us of the dire threat we face. All Americans need your voice more now than ever. This is way past party politics. [edited for ease of reading]

Hayden responded to Katyal, writing that he thought Fox News hosts Shep Smith, Chris Wallace, and Bret Baier needed to disown Trump’s tweet.

“It was such a stunning statement. Smith, Wallace, Baier at Fox need to disown it,” he tweeted.

Twitter user LawStudentHiding joined in tweeting: “Scary that you can’t tell the difference between an opinion and an attack on the constitution! This ignorance is the new normal,” to which Hayden responded: “White House says that DT’s tweets are policy,” reminding him/her that Trump’s tweets are official statements by the administration.

Samuel Warde
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