The Justice Department has informed another one of former President Trump's least favorite media outlets that it secretly seized its reporters' phone records during his administration. The New York Times says it was told by the Biden administration Wednesday that records for four reporters—Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau, and Michael S. Schmidt —were seized as part of a leak investigation. The records cover a four-month period in early 2017 and the Times believes the reporters were investigated in connection with an April 2017 story about former FBI director James Comey's role in the 2016 election. Investigators also sought the journalists' non-content email records.
"Seizing the phone records of journalists profoundly undermines press freedom" and "threatens to silence the sources we depend on to provide the public with essential information," Times executive editor Dean Baquet said in a statement. Last month, the Justice Department disclosed that it had secretly obtained phone records from CNN and the Washington Post. Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said upcoming reports for 2019 and 2020 will show that "members of the news media have now been notified in every instance in this period in which their records were sought or obtained in such circumstances," the AP reports. President Biden has said he will no longer allow the Justice Department to obtain reporters' phone records, which also occurred during the Obama administration. (Read more New York Times stories.)