Trump DOJ secretly pulled Washington Post reporter phone records, and tried to score email records

The Washington Post hqERIC BARADAT/AFP/Getty ImagesThe Washington Post headquarters.

In the early days of the Trump administration, the Justice Department covertly pulled phone records from several Washington Post journalists and also tried to source their email records, according to government letters sent to the reporters and reviewed by The Post.

The reporters were looking into Russia’s influence in the 2016 elections.

The Post reported that in three separate letters dated May 3 and addressed to reporters Ellen Nakashima, Greg Miller, and former reporter Adam Entous, the DOJ told the reporters, they were, “hereby notified that pursuant to legal process the United States Department of Justice received toll records associated with the following telephone numbers for the period from April 15, 2017 to July 31, 2017.”

The letters said that the records included their personal, work, or home phone numbers and allegedly did not include any information about whether Justice Department leadership approved the subpoena.

“While rare, the Department follows the established procedures within its media guidelines policy when seeking legal process to obtain telephone toll records and non-content email records from media members as part of a criminal investigation into unauthorized disclosure of classified information,” Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for the Justice Department, told The Post. “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.”

“We are deeply troubled by this use of government power to seek access to the communications of journalists,” The Post’s acting executive editor Cameron Barr told the outlet. “The Department of Justice should immediately make clear its reasons for this intrusion into the activities of reporters doing their jobs, an activity protected under the First Amendment.”

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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