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Justice Department to stop seizing reporter records

The Justice Department will no longer secretly seize reporters' records in leak investigations, following revelations that the Trump administration obtained phone records of New York Times, Washington Post and CNN reporters.

The state of play: "Absolutely, positively it's wrong. It's simply, simply wrong. ... I will not let that happen," President Biden told CNN in May of the practice.

"Going forward, consistent with the President’s direction, this Department of Justice — in a change to its longstanding practice — will not seek compulsory legal process in leak investigations to obtain source information from members of the news media doing their jobs," the DOJ said Saturday.

On Friday night, the N.Y. Times reported that Justice put a gag order on the newspaper's executives — beginning in the Trump administration and continuing briefly under Biden — during a secret legal battle to obtain the emails of four Times reporters.

  • A letter this week "disclosing the seizure of phone records involving the Times reporters — Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau and Michael S. Schmidt — had hinted at the existence of the separate fight ... over email."
  • "[N]o one at the White House was aware of the gag order until Friday night," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Saturday.

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