The Justice Department will no longer subpoena journalists' records in leak investigations, White House says

The Justice Department will no longer subpoena journalists' records in leak investigations, White House says
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Brian Netter, a lawyer for the women's soccer team in an equal pay case, will be a top defender of Biden policies at the Justice Department. Liu Jie via Getty Images
  • The Justice Department will no longer issue subpoenas for the records of reporters in leak investigations, The White House confirmed Saturday.

  • The Justice Department under Trump secretly fought to get emails sent by New York Times reporters.

  • Under Biden, the Justice Department informed the Times of the subpoena but had imposed a gag order.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The White House on Saturday announced that the United States Department of Justice would no longer secretly work to obtain the records of journalists involved as part of investigations into leaks.

The news was first reported by the Associated Press and was confirmed by the White House on Saturday.

"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," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

The announcement follows a report from The New York Times published one day earlier that the Justice Department under President Donald Trump had quietly fought to obtain the emails of four New York Times reporters as part of its investigation into leaks at the agency.

The Times was not informed of the attempt by the Trump administration, according to the report. The Justice Department under Biden continued the investigation but informed The New York Times of its existence, the outlet reported. But the agency on March 3 placed a gag rule preventing anyone from speaking publicly about it until it was lifted.

David McCraw, the New York Times' top lawyer, said the move was "unprecedented" and the gag order had been lifted Friday, according to the report.

In the statement Saturday, Psaki said "no one at the White House" had been aware of the gag order until Friday night.

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