Mystery surrounds Justice’s pledge on journalist records

The Hill

The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) pledge that it will no longer secretly obtain the records of journalists has left a number of unanswered questions about the department’s handling of leak investigations initiated during the Trump era.

It’s not clear what high-ranking Biden officials knew and when as the Justice Department proceeded with cases involving reporters from three different media outlets or why the department continued to push for gag orders in two cases even after President Biden said late last month that seizure of journalist records was “simply wrong.”

Source: https://thehill.com/homenews/media/557683-mystery-surrounds-justices-pledge-on-journalist-records

Donald Trump’s Justice Department obtained gag order on CNN attorney to keep secret its pursuit of reporter’s email records

Deadline

The Justice Department under President Donald Trump obtained a gag order that kept top CNN executives from disclosing the government’s pursuit of reporter Barbara Starr email and other records as part of an apparent leak investigation.

According to CNN, the effort started in July of last year and was only revealed until Wednesday, when a federal judge unsealed parts of the case. CNN’s general counsel David Vigilante went on air to explain that he was unable to reveal details of the case even to Starr herself. She and reporters from The Washington Post and The New York Times were informed last month that the government had seized their records without their knowledge.

Source: https://deadline.com/2021/06/cnn-gag-order-donald-trump-justice-department-1234772275/

White House disavows knowledge of gag order on Times leaders in leak inquiry

The New York Times

The Biden administration said on Saturday that no one at the White House had been aware that the Justice Department was seeking to seize the email data of four New York Times reporters and had obtained a gag order in March barring a handful of newspaper executives who knew about the fight from discussing it.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/05/us/politics/biden-gag-order-new-york-times-leak.html

Amid controversy, Justice Dept. says it won’t seek to compel journalists to give up source information

Washington Post

The Justice Department on Saturday announced that it will no longer use subpoenas or other legal methods to obtain information from journalists about their sources — a major policy shift that came just a day after the New York Times revealed that the department had prohibited the newspaper’s lawyers and executives from disclosing an effort to seize email records of four reporters.

“Going forward, consistent with the President’s direction, this Department of Justice — in a change to its long-standing practice — will not seek compulsory legal process in leak investigations to obtain source information from members of the news media doing their jobs,” Anthony Coley, the department’s top spokesman, said in a statement.

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/new-york-times-justice-department/2021/06/05/0fc66026-c61d-11eb-93f5-ee9558eecf4b_story.html

Biden and Bowser administrations change their tunes on last summer’s riot response

The Hill

After the Lafayette Park operation, Bowser declared that “if you are like me, you saw something that you hoped you would never see in the United States of America.” Now, her government is arguing not only that the protesters’ claims should be dismissed but that the district did and can continue to use tear gas in such situations, even to enforce a curfew.

In the meantime, the Biden administration agrees that the case should be dismissed entirely. The Department of Justice (DOJ) maintains that “Presidential security is a paramount government interest that weighs heavily in the Fourth Amendment balance.” The DOJ’s counsel, John Martin, added that “federal officers do not violate First Amendment rights by moving protesters a few blocks, even if the protesters are predominantly peaceful.”

Source: https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/556263-biden-and-bowser-administrations-change-their-tunes-on-last-summers-riot