[WATCH] Trump’s DOJ Secretly Acquired Reporters’ Phone Records
The Trump Justice Department secretly obtained the phone records of four New York Times reporters as part of a leak investigation, the newspaper reported Wednesday. It is the third instance over the last month in which a news media organization has disclosed that federal authorities seized the records of its journalists in an effort to identify sources for national security stories published during Trump’s administration.
President Joe Biden has said he would not allow the Justice Department to continue the practice of obtaining reporters’ records, calling it “simply, simply wrong.”
Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said the department notified the four reporters on Wednesday that it had obtained their phone toll records last year and that it had sought to obtain non-content email records as part of “a criminal investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.”
The newspaper said the records that were seized covered a nearly four-month period in 2017 and belonged to reporters Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau, and Michael S. Schmidt. Lichtblau has since left the Times.
The fact that Trump’s Justice Department secretly obtained phone records of NYT journalists should frighten every American. We cannot stand for a DOJ reminiscent of an autocracy. Are we going to jail them next?
— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) June 3, 2021
The journalists are neither the subjects nor the targets of the investigation. “Forthcoming annual public reports from the Department covering 2019 and 2020 will indicate that members of the news media have now been notified in every instance in this period in which their records were sought or obtained in such circumstances,” Coley said.
WAPO: Having previously disclosed how Barr’s DOJ secretly spied on reporters for WAPO and CNN, yesterday the DOJ admitted it had spied on NYT reporters as well. Biden says it stops now.
— LiberalNavySeal (@LiberalNavySeal) June 3, 2021
The Justice Department did not disclose which article it was investigating, according to the newspaper. The period covered by the phone record seizure encompasses an April 2017 story from the four journalists that described the decision-making of then-FBI Director James Comey during the conclusion of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, and that referenced a classified document obtained by Russian hackers.
Trump also did the same thing to a journalist at CNN and reporters at the New York Post in 2017.
Barbara Starr gets a letter informing her that the Trump DOJ snooped in her emails and phone records. https://t.co/STldzS5rLF
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) May 20, 2021
Katie Benner from the New York Times joined MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson to talk about the phone records controversy. Watch the full segment, below.