Democratic Rep. Vows to Do 'Everything Physically Possible' to Keep Donald Trump From Enacting Fake News Bill Similar to Russia's

Following the news of Russian President Vladimir Putin signing a law that makes publishing fake news a criminal offense, Representative Eric Swalwell of California has vowed to do whatever he can to keep President Donald Trump from pushing for a similar law.

"I will do everything physically possible—march with my feet, shout from my lungs, and out-maneuver with my mind—to stop this from happening in America. But you better believe @realDonaldTrump will try. And I know you're with me. Not on our watch," Swalwell tweeted on Monday afternoon.

Russia's new law, signed by Putin on Monday, was passed by both chambers of the Russian congress by overwhelming majorities within two months, the Moscow Times reported.

The law seeks to punish digital news outlets and internet users who “exhibit blatant disrespect for the society, government, official government symbols, constitution or governmental bodies of Russia" by imposing a fine of up to 1.5 million rubles ($22,000), for repeated offenses. For outlets and individuals who publish "fake news" about Putin or other members of the Russian government, the fine can rise to 300,000 rubles ($4,660) and 15 days in jail.

According to the Times, more than 100 Russian public figures, including journalists, signed a petition that called the law "direct censorship."

Maria Snegovaya, an adjunct fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, told The Washington Post the law allowed prosecutors to file complaints to the Russian government directly, thereby removing courts from the decision.

“In other words, it significantly expands the repressive power of Russia's repressive apparatus. This may be compared to the Stalin's Troika, a commission of three for express judgment in the Soviet Union during the time of Joseph Stalin who issued sentences to people after simplified, speedy investigations and without a public and fair trial,” Snegovaya told The Post in an email.

While no law to punish the publication of fake news is currently being considered in the United States, Trump has referred to the need for such laws before.

Trump previously stated that he hoped the Supreme Court would review libel laws in order to punish media outlets and journalists, a move that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said he would support in a solo opinion published in February.

"I'm going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money," Trump told a crowd during a campaign rally in February 2016.

Trump, a frequent critic of negative media coverage about himself and his administration, also complained about the media during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in October 2018, saying, "It is frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write."

On Sunday, amid a multi-hour tweet fest, the president railed against Saturday Night Live and his being a target of the sketch-comedy show. Then, in a separate tweet, Trump suggested that the Federal Election Commission or the Federal Communications Commission look into the show.

"It's truly incredible that shows like Saturday Night Live, not funny/no talent, can spend all of their time knocking the same person (me), over & over, without so much of a mention of “the other side.” Like an advertisement without consequences. Same with Late Night Shows..." Trump tweeted. "Should Federal Election Commission and/or FCC look into this? There must be Collusion with the Democrats and, of course, Russia! Such one sided media coverage, most of it Fake News. Hard to believe I won and am winning. Approval Rating 52%, 93% with Republicans. Sorry! #MAGA"

In a pair of tweets from August 2018, Trump said, "There is nothing that I would want more for our Country than true FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. The fact is that the Press is FREE to write and say anything it wants, but much of what it says is FAKE NEWS, pushing a political agenda or just plain trying to hurt people. HONESTY WINS!"

"Censorship is a very dangerous thing & absolutely impossible to police. If you are weeding out Fake News, there is nothing so Fake as CNN & MSNBC, & yet I do not ask that their sick behavior be removed. I get used to it and watch with a grain of salt, or don't watch at all," Trump added in another tweet.