The White House is denying knowledge of a Department of Justice (DOJ) gag order targeting the New York Times.
“As appropriate given the independence of the Justice Department in specific criminal cases, no one at the White House was aware of the gag order until Friday night,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Saturday.
A DOJ spokesman announced on Saturday that the department would no longer go to court to obtain media records.
Statement by Press Secretary Jen Psaki on the Department of Justice Leak Investigation Policy | The White House https://t.co/hCoOqUz0Jk
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) June 5, 2021
The New York Times revealed on Friday that both the Trump and Biden administrations attempted to subpoena its reporters’ emails to identify sources. The DOJ introduced a gag order on March 3 to prevent the Times and Google, which operates the Times’ email servers, from publicly discussing the subpoena attempts.
“While the White House does not intervene in criminal investigations, the issuing of subpoenas for the records of reporters in leak investigations is not consistent with the President’s policy direction to the Department, and the Department of Justice has reconfirmed it will not be used moving forward,” Psaki continued.
Psaki did not deny that the White House knew about the subpoenas, which targeted New York Times reporters Matt Apuzzo, Michael S. Schmidt, Adam Goldman, and Eric Lichtblau. (RELATED: Trump Admin Covertly Obtained Phone Records Of NYT Reporters)
President Joe Biden condemned the common DOJ practice in May 21 comments to CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins.
“It’s simply, simply wrong. I will not let that happen,” President Biden tells me about the Justice Department seizing the records of reporters. pic.twitter.com/bRL88NssMr
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) May 21, 2021
“We should absolutely, positively [prevent the DOJ from seizing reporters’ records]. It’s wrong. It’s simply, simply wrong. I will not let that happen,” Biden said at the time.