Trump's DOJ Secretly Seized Washington Post Journalists' Phone Records: Report

Written by on May 7, 2021

Donald Trump’s Justice Division secretly obtained the cellphone data of Washington Publish reporters protecting Russia’s interference within the 2016 presidential election, the newspaper reported Friday.

DOJ officers additionally obtained a court docket order for entry to the journalists’ e-mail data, however didn’t execute it, the Publish reported, citing authorities letters and officers.

Three journalists have been notified this month that “pursuant to [a] authorized course of” that reportedly came about in 2020, the DOJ had acquired greater than three months of data courting again to April via July 2017 that have been linked to their work, residence or mobile phone numbers, in keeping with the Publish.

The cellphone data included the numbers of callers, in addition to the instances of day the calls came about and the way lengthy they lasted. They didn’t embody what was stated, the Publish reported.

“We’re deeply troubled by this use of presidency energy to hunt entry to the communications of journalists,” stated the Publish’s performing government editor, Cameron Barr. “The Division of Justice ought to instantly clarify its causes for this intrusion into the actions of reporters doing their jobs, an exercise protected underneath the First Modification.”

Towards the top of the interval in 2017 that the cellphone data date again to, the focused Washington Publish reporters wrote a narrative about categorized U.S. intelligence indicating that former Sen. Jeff Periods (R-Ala.) had mentioned the Trump marketing campaign in 2016 with Russia’s then-ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak. Trump named Periods his legal professional normal after successful the presidential election.

A Justice Division spokesperson advised the Publish that the transfer to grab the cellphone data occurred in 2020 when staunch Trump supporter William Barr was legal professional normal. Barr refused to answer the Publish’s request for remark.

It’s broadly believed that such heavy-handed motion has a chilling impact on sources motivated to share the reality for the nice of the nation. Nevertheless, the DOJ defended it as a justified search to determine leakers of presidency data.

“The targets of those investigations usually are not the information media recipients however somewhat these with entry to the nationwide protection data who offered it to the media and thus failed to guard it as lawfully required,” DOJ spokesperson Marc Raimondi advised the Publish.

The Obama administration additionally took aggressive motion to cease authorities leaks to the media by seizing journalists’ cellphone data and prosecuting their sources. President Barack Obama’s legal professional normal Eric Holder up to date the principles on media leak investigations after a groundswell of criticism.

Learn the complete Washington Publish story right here.


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