The Justice Department under former President Donald Trump secretly obtained the phone records of four New York Times reporters in 2017, President Joe Biden’s administration revealed.
The administration told The New York Times that Trump officials seized the records of reporters Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau, and Michael Schmidt from Jan. 14 to April 30, 2017. The DOJ also got a court order to seize their email logs, but told the Times that “no records were obtained.”
Last month, the Biden DOJ revealed that the Trump administration also seized the phone records of reporters at The Washington Post and the phone and email logs for a reporter at CNN.
Though the DOJ did not disclose what article was being investigated, the Times speculated it was related to former FBI director James Comey and his leadership in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails in the run up to the 2016 presidential election.
The paper mentioned that its article contained a classified DOJ memo about then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and her role in the investigation. The article ran on April 22, 2017.
“Seizing the phone records of journalists profoundly undermines press freedom,” New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet said in a statement. “It threatens to silence the sources we depend on to provide the public with essential information about what the government is doing.”
After it was disclosed that the Trump DOJ had seized the records of CNN Pentagon reporter Barbara Starr, Biden vowed that the same actions would not occur under his administration, calling it “simply, simply wrong.”
The Obama administration engaged in similar tactics as well, obtaining the contact information for multiple Associated Press reporters in 2013.
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