Joe Biden’s DOJ Busted Imposing ‘Unprecedented’ Gag Order On NYT While Continuing Trump’s Leak Hunt: “Profoundly undermines press freedom”

It is very rare to catch media bias in action so this stunning New York Times report about what the Department of Justice, under both Trump and Biden, did hunting leaks is important because only one admin issued an ‘unprecedented’ gag order to keep the story from the public. And it wasn’t Trump.

Trump’s DOJ, like Obama’s, was notoriously tough on leakers. At the end of Trump’s term, the Department of Justice turned up the heat and tried to get some reporter’s electronic records. The media and the Dem machine went nuts, as they should, over the revelation. So now we get to see if that was all talk, all BS partisan pandering, or if they meant it because the New York Times just dropped a bombshell.

Biden’s DOJ not only kept hunting the leaker’s Trump was after, but they also issued a gag order on the New York Times so the public wouldn’t know they were trying to get reporter’s email records. David McCraw, a lawyer for the Times, called the gag order unprecedented. McCraw clarified saying that there was no legal precedent for the gag order on the New York Times as part of a leak investigation, which is a stunning statement.

“Clearly, Google did the right thing, but it should never have come to this,” executive editor of The New York Times Dean Baquet said of Google refusing to turn over the NYT emails to the Feds. “The Justice Department relentlessly pursued the identity of sources for coverage that was clearly in the public interest in the final 15 days of the Trump administration. And the Biden administration continued to pursue it. As I said before, it profoundly undermines press freedom.”

Anthony Coley, a Justice Department spokesman said that “on multiple occasions in recent months,” the Biden’s DOJ moved to delay enforcement of the order before it “voluntarily moved to withdraw the order before any records were produced.”

He said: “The department strongly values a free and independent press, and is committed to upholding the First Amendment.”

From The New York Times:

The letters said the government had also acquired a court order to seize logs of their emails, but “no records were obtained,” providing no further details. But with the lifting of the gag order, Mr. McCraw said he had been freed to explain what had happened.

Prosecutors in the office of the United States attorney in Washington had obtained a sealed court order from a magistrate judge on Jan. 5 requiring Google to secretly turn over the information. But Google resisted, apparently demanding that The Times be told, as its contract with the company requires.

The Justice Department continued to press the request after the Biden administration took over, but in early March prosecutors relented and asked a judge to permit telling Mr. McCraw. But the disclosure to him came with a nondisclosure order preventing him from talking about it to other people.

Mr. McCraw said it was “stunning” to receive an email from Google telling him what was going on. At first, he said, he did not know who the prosecutor was, and because the matter was sealed, there were no court documents he could access about it.

The next day, Mr. McCraw said, he was told the name of the prosecutor — a career assistant United States attorney in Washington, Tejpal Chawla — and opened negotiations with him. Eventually, Mr. Chawla agreed to ask the judge to modify the gag order so Mr. McCraw could discuss the matter with The Times’s general counsel and the company’s outside lawyers, and then with two senior Times executives: A.G. Sulzberger, the publisher, and Meredith Kopit Levien, the chief executive.

“We made clear that we intended to go to court to challenge the order if it was not withdrawn,” Mr. McCraw said. Then, on June 2, he said, the Justice Department told him it would ask the court to quash the order to Google at the same time that it disclosed the earlier phone records seizure, which he had not known about.

He described the position he was in as “untenable,” especially when it came to talking with Times reporters about chatter involving some kind of fight involving Google and a leak investigation related to The Times.

The Justice Department has not said what leak it was investigating, but the identity of the four reporters who were targeted and the date range of the communications sought strongly suggested that it centered on classified information in an April 2017 article about how James B. Comey Jr., the former F.B.I. director, handled politically charged investigations during the 2016 presidential campaign.

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