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Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced new guidelines Monday limiting Justice Department and FBI investigators from seizing materials from reporters and news outlets except in extreme cases.

Why it matters: The new policy follows disclosures that the DOJ, under the Trump administration, secretly obtained records of several journalists, including one at CNN, three at the Washington Post and four from the New York Times.

  • In May, President Biden said he wouldn't allow the Justice Department to seize journalists' email or phone records.

The big picture: The new policy aims to resolve the issue of Justice Department prosecutors trying to weigh the media's First Amendment rights against the government's desire to protect classified information, the Associated Press notes.

  • Federal prosecutors can, in some cases, seize journalists’ records if the reporters are suspected of working for agents of a foreign power or terrorist organization or in situations with imminent risks, like kidnappings or crimes against children, AP reports.

What they're saying: "To further protect members of the news media in a manner that will be enduring, [Garland] asked the Deputy Attorney General to undertake a review process to further explain, develop, and codify the policy announced today into Department regulations," the DOJ announcement reads.

Go deeper

Jul 31, 2021 - Politics & Policy

DOJ: Russians hacked federal prosecutors

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Russian hackers behind the massive SolarWinds cyber-espionage campaign broke into the email accounts of some of the most prominent federal prosecutors' offices around the country last year, the Justice Department announced.

State of play: DOJ said 80% of Microsoft email accounts used by employees in the four U.S. attorney offices in New York were breached.

Call notes show Trump urged DOJ to declare election "corrupt"

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Then-President Trump pressed top Justice Department officials in a December phone call to "just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me" and Republican congressmen, according to handwritten notes of the call released by the House Oversight Committee on Friday.

Why it matters: It’s the latest example of how aggressively Trump publicly and privately pressured the Justice Department to overturn the results of the election, despite no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Trump's tax returns must be released to Congress, DOJ says

President Trump at the end of a rally to support Republican Senate candidates at Valdosta Regional Airport in Valdosta, Georgia on December 5, 2020. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP

The Treasury Department "must" release former President Trump's tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee, the Department of Justice said in a memo Friday.

The big picture: The DOJ memo comes after a long dispute between the committee, which first sought to obtain the former president's returns two years ago, and Trump, who fought to keep his finances private.