Trump Threatens to Imprison Photojournalist Who Took Photo of Letter From Kim Jong-un Despite Warnings Not To

Trump Threatens to Imprison Photojournalist Who Took Photo of Letter From Kim Jong-un Despite Warnings Not To

President Trump has scolded a photographer in the Oval Office, even threatening to send him to prison, after the photographer took a picture of a letter from Kim Jong-un.

The Time magazine photographer was allegedly told "you can go to prison instead," according to official sources, after he was first warned by an aide not to take a photo.

An interview was taking place at the White House on Monday, just days before Trump was due to launch his 2020 re-election campaign.

Mr. Trump rebuked the photographer in the Oval Office after he was warned by an aide not to take a photo, according to Time's transcript. It’s said that on several occasions, Trump asked to speak off the record, including during the instance in which he wanted to show reporters the letter from Jong-un. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders seemingly told the journalists: "You can't take a picture of that, sorry."

After the conversation then turned to former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, the man who testified under oath against Trump, and at the threat of prison time, Trump is said to have snapped back:

Well, you can go to prison instead, because, if you use, if you use the photograph you took of the letter that I gave you confidentially […] I didn’t give it to you to take photographs of it. So, don’t play that game with me. Let me just tell you something. You take a look.

When the journalist cut in, asking if he was being threatened with jail time, Trump hit back:

Well, I told you the following. I told you you can look at this off the record. That doesn’t mean you take out your camera and start taking pictures of it. OK? So, I hope you don’t have a picture of it. I know you were very quick to pull it out — even you were surprised to see that. You can’t do that stuff.

Lead image credit: "Donald Trump Sr. at #FITN in Nashua, NH" by Michael Vadon, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0  

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79 Comments

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user-239119's picture

Forced re-education camps?! Are you fucking kidding me? This is America, not Communist China or the Soviet Union. The lack of historical context in your comment is stunning. Anyone looking for an example of the downfall of American society and its freedoms, look no further than this comment.

"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Durant

Studio 403's picture

Thank you for your reply. Good point

So jail, then...

user-239119's picture

How about finding out if there is anything illegal here first, and then fairly trying him in a court with due process? You know, like how the Constitution says? Like how America operates.

Logan Cressler's picture

I think when he said "ethics school" he was referring to the ethics of being a journalist/photojournalist" and I do not believe he was at all implying some sort of "forced re-educattion camps?!" as you say.

How about you stop being such an edge lord and blowing everything entirely out of proportion, I mean my word, You just completely flew off the cuff over nothing at all. You just attacked someone you dont even know because YOU misunderstood what he said, which was phrased in a way reasonable enough to allow reasonable people to understand his point.

Try being reasonable for just a little bit each day.

user-239119's picture

Funny, the person who actually wrote the comment thanked me and said I had a good point. So I don’t really care what you think he said.

Here’s some advice: mind your own business and stop trying to speak for other people who obviously don’t want you to speak for them.

Logan Cressler's picture

I am not speaking for him, I am speaking to you!

You tell me to mind my own business after you reply to someone else's comment with your nonsense? So you can have an opinion on things in a public forum, but I cant? That doesn't seem like how America is supposed to operate but you seem to be the expert here.

Everything on this public comments board, is my business, as much as it is yours.

user-239119's picture

You're putting words in his mouth and telling me I misunderstood what he said (after he thanked me for my comment and said it was a good point) and then you say you're not speaking for him?

Wow didn't realize I was talking to an idiot. I never said you can't have an opinion. Read what is written before you respond.

At least Studio 403 had the decency to admit when he was wrong. You should try that sometime.

Logan Cressler's picture

I see no thank you for your comment, or him replying at all. Perhaps he deleted it before I saw this thread. And giving your own interpretation for what someone is saying, IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID TO START ALL THIS.

Either I am blind, or you are delusional. Possibly both. Can you post a screenshot of his comment thanking you and saying good point?

user-239119's picture

It's still up. Here:
And the "thumbs up" on his reply is from me, because I respect and appreciate when people acknowledge a good point, rather than cowardly try to backpedal.

user-239119's picture

Must be tough being a blind photographer. Grow a pair and admit when you’re wrong in the future, kid.

Gary Gray's picture

Nothing is off the record.

Rather than replying to lots of individual comments, I will put this out there as it's own post.

Firstly, photography is part of journalism, and a major part of journalism is reporting on politics. So photography and politics are inherently intertwined.

The journalist did not steal the information. They didn't sneak in to an office look at the letter in secret.

Yes, Trump supposedly told the reporter that this was "off the record". Whether you choose to believe that or not, it is irrelevant; the big red flag is that Trump decided to show the letter to the reporters, then threatened one with jail time if they reported on it.

There are people in the comments banding around phrases such as "loose lips sink ships" (I am generalising as an example, not singling anyone out)....if the information is so private and sensitive, why would he show it to anyone who is not an important government official? You don't see adverts for tours of secret military bases, and in the terms and conditions it tells you not to take pictures.

Given that he did not choose to keep the information confidential, this is nothing more than an example of the President of the USA trying to exercise authority over the media. The media should not be censored by politicians. Unfortunately, since the Vietnam war, the citizens of USA have become used to the president controlling the freedom of the media to report.

I didn't realise that part of making America great again was removing freedom of speech and freedom to report!

user-239119's picture

Thank you! Someone reasonable on this forum! I can't believe we've fallen so far as a nation as some of these comments indicate. We need to Make America Great Again, Again! lol

Sean Sauer's picture

Dump didn't want a photo taken of it because he just wrote the letter himself (in crayon) five minutes before they let the press in.

Terry Wright's picture

To the writer - Kim is his family name. Calling him Jong-un is like calling the president of the US "Donald"

Dave Dundas's picture

Oh, you mean like "Nancy" and "Chuck" that the President refers to? Interesting. :)

President Cheetos did make a point. If he, in good faith showed a conifitial document off the record. The reporter should have respected that.