'Profoundly undermines press freedom': Trump DOJ secretly seized NYT reporters' phone records

'Profoundly undermines press freedom': Trump DOJ secretly seized NYT reporters' phone records
Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

The U.S. Department of Justice, under former President Donald Trump's leadership, secretly seized phone records belonging to New York Times reporters

According to HuffPost, Justice Department officials have revealed phone records from Jan. 14, 2007, to April 30, 2017 were seized for the following reporters: Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau, and Michael Schmidt.

At the time, the NYT reporters were reportedly focused on the controversy surrounding former Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Director James Comey and his handing of the investigations into the 2016 presidential election. According to the publication, the federal government had also obtained a court order to seize "email logs, excluding their contents." However, officials confirmed that those records were not ultimately seized.

The latest report comes just weeks after both CNN and the Washington Post similar reported on records obtained from other reporters. While CNN reported that the Trump administration had secretly seized records for a Pentagon correspondent, The Post reported that the Trump administration had "secretly obtained the phone records of three of its reporters in 2017 who had covered the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election."

In response to the reports, New York Times' executive editor, Dean Baquet, sounded off with critical remarks about the Trump administration's actions.

"Seizing the phone records of journalists profoundly undermines press freedom," Baquet told the Times. "It threatens to silence the sources we depend on to provide the public with essential information about what the government is doing."

Washington Post Publisher Fred Ryan has also asked Attorney General Merrick Garland for a meeting to discuss the disclosures.

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