Trump's DOJ attempted to seize records of WaPo journalist over report Russian leaks: report

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The Trump-led U.S. Department of Justice attempted to seize communication records for three Washington Post by way of legal action as a response to their reports on Russian interference, unsealed court documents reveal.

According to Axios, the latest report is a critical piece of information because the court order was filed just one day before U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr announced his departure.

The publication notes that the court order sought to obtain details about classified information included in a number of Washington Post articles written by Adam Entous, Greg Miller and Ellen Nakashima.

The Trump administration wanted to find key details about the leaked information in the three articles, per the publication. Those items are as follows:

  • "One article from May 2017 on conversations President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner had with Sergey Kislyak, then Russia's ambassador to the U.S.
  • A June 2017 report on how the Obama administration dealt with U.S. election interference by Russia's government.
  • A July 2017 piece on discussions between Kislyak and then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, who went on to become the Trump administration's first attorney general."

As a result of the latest controversy, the Biden administration has released a statement making its stance clear where these types of issues are concerned. The department has stated that "it will no longer secretly seize reporters' records in leak investigations, following revelations that the Trump administration obtained phone records of New York Times, WashPost and CNN reporters."

While the Biden administration initially expressed apprehension about unsealed the documents, U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui pushed back. In her order, she noted that the government's "sealing power may not be exercised indiscriminately."

Quoting an opinion with a reference to the film 'Raiders of the Losr Arc," Faruqui said, A sealed matter is not generally, as the government persists in imagining, 'nailed into a nondescript crate, stored deep in a sprawling, uncataloged warehouse.'"

She added, "Rather, it is merely frozen in carbonite, awaiting its eventual thawing."

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