Mr. HIMES. Mr. Speaker, it is the fashion amongst many of us to blame the press for our troubles, and that's, of course, because the press reports our troubles. At their best, the media keeps us honest, it keeps us in our constitutional lanes, and it reports our failures. It is essential for democracy. There is a reason why freedom of the press is not the Second or Fourth or 10th Amendment. It's the First Amendment.
So, Mr. Speaker, I am profoundly concerned over the Department of Justice's overbroad and chilling behavior with respect to the Associated Press. Seeking records for 20 phone lines, giving the AP no notice, refusing at this point to discuss their behavior feels to me like overreach.
Mr. Speaker, it's time for the Department of Justice to stand back. You can imagine that there is somebody out there today who has a failure to report who is chilled and says, I will not do that because of the approach that the Department of Justice has taken.
Mr. Speaker, I am proud to serve in the very core of democracy, but this Chamber rests on foundations, and a key part of that foundation is a free and competent press.