President Biden said Friday that he won’t allow the federal government to seize reporters’ phone records or emails, calling the practice “simply wrong.”
“Absolutely, positively it’s wrong. It’s simply, simply wrong,” Mr. Biden told reporters as he was leaving a press conference at the White House with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. “I won’t let that happen.”
Mr. Biden spoke in the wake of reports that the Trump administration seized some of the communication records of CNN and Washington Post reporters, apparently as part of investigations into possible leaks.
The president said repeatedly on the campaign trail that he wanted an independent Justice Department and that he wouldn’t be making specific recommendations on cases to his attorney general.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier in the day that the Justice Department intends to abide by the model set by former Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., who aggressively pursued investigations involving journalists and potential leaks during the Obama years.
“This president is committed, strongly, to the rights of the freedom of press, as you have seen for decades, and to standing up for the rights of journalists,” Ms. Psaki said.
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