Intrusion by Trump administration into reporters’ activities infringed press freedoms: Washington Post

Washington, May 8, 2021: The Washington Post reported an intrusion by the Trump administration into the lives of its journalists and reporters, Ellen Nakashima, Greg Miller and Adam Entous. The Department Of Justice informed the three journalists in letters written to them that their work, cell and home phone records had been seized for the period between April and July 2017.

The phone records were obtained secretly and illegally, thereby infringing individual rights outlined in the First Amendment. The three had earlier reported on the meddling by the Russians during the 2016 elections, a period during which Russians hacked into the Democratic National Congress servers while Hillary Clinton was the democratic presidential candidate according to US intelligence. Former President Donald Trump ignored the findings of the US Intelligence agencies and instead sided with Vladimir Putin on the issue. The three also wrote reports on the efforts by the Obama administration to counter Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential race.

According to an official statement by the Washington Post, the newspaper was deeply concerned about this illegal use of power to seek access into the lives and communications of its reporters. Cameron Barr, the acting executive director at the Post said the Department of Justice immediately needs to clarify why it decided to intrude into the activities of reporters doing their jobs.

In a tweet by The American Civil Liberties Union said the Justice Department had been “spying” on the journalists “at the whims of an administration and that activities like these that directly jeopardize the freedom of media and press should never have happened.

Meanwhile the DOJ spokesperson said they had complied with the request from the Trump administration and followed procedure. Though the letters never made it clear why the records had been seized, the Post revealed that the three reporters were writing a story on how Jeff Sessions, the attorney general under Donald Trump, had discussed the Trump election campaign with the Russian ambassador.

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