Donald Trump AND Joe Biden tried to get hold of New York Times journalists’ emails to expose sources
The Justice Department under both Donald Trump and Joe Biden went to court to try to confiscate the emails of four New York Times reporters.
They did so after heavy coverage of former FBI Director James Comey and his actions in the run-up to the 2016 election, and were even given a gag order for trying to hide their efforts from the public.
Donald Trump’s administration began to get the ball rolling – although attempts to obtain the emails continued for three months of the Biden presidency, with the Biden team even putting a gag order on paper, making it the request could not be made public.
That was lifted on Friday, allowing the newspaper to reveal what had happened.
The department sought to obtain data from the four reporters—Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau, and Michael S. Schmidt—all of whom an April 2017 survey in Comey and the election.
The request for the emails was submitted to Google, which operates The Times’ email system. Google then informed the newspaper.
The request to Google was made on January 5 of this year, with just 15 days until Trump’s presidency.
The New York Times revealed Friday that four of their reporters had been targeted by the Justice Department, which went to court to try to force Google to hand over their email records. Google pushed back and eventually the emails were never handed over, but the move has been described as an attack on the First Amendment
Michael Schmidt (left) and Adam Goldman (right) were targeted by the Justice Department
Matt Apuzzo (left) and Eric Lichtblau were also identified by the Justice Department
Prosecutors in the US attorney’s office in Washington had received a sealed court order from a magistrate, demanding that Google secretly hand over the data. Google refused and the emails were never obtained.
On March 3, now under the Biden administration, the Justice Department placed a gag order on the newspaper.
The ban was lifted on Friday.
“It’s clear that Google did the right thing, but it should never have come to this,” said Dean Baquet, editor-in-chief of The New York Times.
“The Justice Department relentlessly searched for the identities of sources for coverage that was clearly in the public interest in the last 15 days of the Trump administration.
“And the Biden administration continued to pursue it.”
Baquet said the move “seriously undermines press freedom”.
The Justice Department led by both Trump and Biden prosecuted the four reporters’ emails
The news of the Justice Department’s efforts to obtain sources from journalists by email came two days after the Justice Department informed the four reporters that the Trump administration, seeking their sources, will be in the US in 2020. secretly had taken months of their phone records as of early 2017.
That report followed similar revelations in recent weeks about the seizure of communications data from reporters at CNN and The Washington Post.
They did so in an earlier effort to find out where leaks about the Trump administration were coming from.
A Justice Department spokesman insisted the effort was a legacy of the Trump era, never seriously pursued under Biden.
Anthony Coley, a Justice Department spokesman, noted that “in recent months” the Biden-era department had delayed executing the order.
They said the Justice Department then “voluntarily decided to withdraw the warrant before any records were produced.”
He added: “The department values a free and independent press and is committed to upholding the First Amendment.”
The fact remained, however, that Biden’s Justice Department persisted for three months — even imposing the gag order.
Last month, Biden said he would not allow the Justice Department during his administration to seize communications logs that could reveal reporters’ sources.
He called the practice ‘just, just wrong’.