Trump’s Justice Department Secretly Obtained CNN Reporter’s Phone Records
Former President Donald Trump’s Justice Department seized CNN reporter Barbara Starr‘s phone call and email records, according to the news network. The records include both personal and work correspondences from two months in 2017.
A Justice Department spokesperson said that the legal process to obtain the records was approved last year. Coley did not explain why the Justice Department wanted to seize the records.
Trump’s Justice Department secretly obtained three Washington Post reporters’ phone records and tried to get their email records too in an attempt to uncover the sources for a 2017 story about the links between Russia and the then-president’s campaign. The Post’s story claimed that then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak had discussed Russia-related topics with former Sen. Jeff Sessions, a former Trump campaign adviser.
Justice Department spokesperson Marc Raimondi said that the intention behind investigating reporters was not to prosecute them: “The targets of these investigations are not the news media recipients but rather those with access to the national defense information who provided it to the media and thus failed to protect it as lawfully required.”
Brown asked the Justice Department to release a “detailed explanation” of these events as well as how “it plans to strengthen protections for the free flow of information to the public.”
The Justice Department leaders will meet with reporters “soon” to “hear their concerns” and “further convey Attorney General [Merrick] Garland’s staunch support of and commitment to a free and independent press.”
CNN President Jeff Zucker criticized the department’s actions: “CNN strongly condemns the secret collection of any aspect of a journalist’s correspondence, which is clearly protected by the First Amendment.”