This was inspired by this question asked on Politics.SE here:
and the linked incident:
where that, apparently, a journalist interviewing United States President Donald Trump was shown a letter that had been penned to him by Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un, and the journalist received a stern warning from Trump that they could be sent to prison for taking and making off with photographic copies of the letter. Now the first linked answers say that the President "cannot just send someone to prison" and comments reference how that "bills of attainder" are Constitutionally disallowed. However it seems most if not all the answerers missed or overlooked what to me seems like an extremely crucial detail: In the recounting of events in the news report, it is said that Trump gave the journalist the letter "confidentially", which seems like it could very much change things if that declaration carries some kind of legal force.
So my questions about this incident are:
- What, if anything, legally constitutes "giving in confidentiality" a letter of correspondence penned by a foreign official, to someone else, by the President of the United States? Can such a thing simply be claimed by the President on a whim, or does it have to be in writing (say a "CONFIDENTIAL" stamp) on the letter in order to have legal force if it is capable of bearing such?
- Is wilful disregard of such a command a criminal offense, as opposed to some other category of legal infraction?
- If so and the President were to order criminal prosecution of this journalist in this situation for such, what would be the probability to secure a conviction under these circumstances?
- Does the statute criminal penalty for such putative offense include prison time, and if so, would the journalist be likely to receive it in this case under conviction, and if so, how much given precedent?
- What is the possible extent of collateral consequences on the offender's life for conviction for a crime under this statute (chiefly an answer to this point basically amounts to simply saying whether it's a misdemeanor or felony, since there is virtually no more nuance to such 'collateral consequences' than that pittance of a distinction under the extant legal regime, and there are too many to list, but a misdemeanor generally activates less than a felony)?
- Is there a reasonable argument that could be made that this law and/or exercise of it in the very specifically defined circumstances that this case represents, and in particular against a journalist, could be challenged in court, and with a significant likelihood (def: >25%) of success, on grounds of it and its enforcement constituting a violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, in particular regarding the freedom of the press? If so, how, and if not, why not?