The Trump administration
secretly obtained the phone records of four New York
Times reporters shortly after Donald Trump
took office in 2017, according to the Justice Department
, which is now led by Vice President Joe Biden
The Justice Department said it had seized phone records for Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau, and Michael Schmidt for more than four months, from January 14 to April
30, 2017. The Times noted that the Justice Department did not say which articles the seizures were related to, but added that the reporters were focused at the time on then-FBI Director James Comey and his handling of the investigation
According to the officials, the government also had a court order to seize the journalists
' email logs but did not obtain any records.
The revelations add to a growing pattern of aggressive White House
tactics aimed at journalists who covered government leaks during Trump's presidency.
reported last month that the Trump Justice Department had secretly obtained the phone and email records of the network's Pentagon correspondent in 2017. The Washington Post
also reported last month that the Trump administration had secretly obtained the phone records of three of its reporters who had covered the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election
Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the New York Times, issued a statement condemning the DOJ report.
“Seizing journalists’ phone records profoundly undermines press freedom
,” Baquet told the Times, “and threatens to silence the sources we rely on to provide essential information to the public about what the government is doing.”
The Washington Post's publisher, Fred Ryan, has asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to meet with him about the revelations, but nothing has been scheduled as of Wednesday.
Such actions, according to Biden, will not occur in his administration, and such tactics are "simply wrong."