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CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, Ga. Photo: John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

New details emerged Wednesday about the Trump administration's months-long battle with CNN to obtain the email records of a reporter, which included putting a CNN general counsel under a gag order, the network reported.

Why it matters: The details reveal the extreme lengths the Trump Department of Justice took to keep its pursuit to gain access to CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr's emails cloaked in secrecy.

Details: CNN's general counsel David Vigilante was sent a secret order issued by a federal magistrate judge on July 17, 2020, ordering CNN to produce records of Starr's emails that were sent between June and July 2017.

  • Vigilante was barred "from sharing any details about the government's efforts with anyone beyond the network's president, top attorneys at CNN's corporate parent and attorneys at an outside law firm," CNN reported.
  • "I've never encountered a situation like this," Vigilante said this week, per CNN. "I felt like there was a sword of Damocles over me for the year."
  • A secret court battle continued for months, per CNN.

The big picture: Starr was made aware of the DOJ's efforts to gain access to her communications for the first time in May 2021.

  • About two weeks earlier, it was revealed that the DOJ under former President Trump also obtained phone records of three Washington Post reporters in 2017.
  • It was later reported the Trump DOJ secretly seized the phone records of four New York Times reporters.
  • The Justice Department under President Biden has said it will no longer secretly seize reporters' records in leak investigations.

Go deeper

Clinton-linked lawyer indicted in investigation of FBI's Russia probe

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

A grand jury has returned an indictment against Michael Sussmann, a lawyer whose firm represented the 2016 Clinton campaign, for lying to the FBI about not representing "any client" when he presented them with allegations about a secret Trump Organization back-channel to a Russian bank.

Why it matters: It's the second criminal charge stemming from special counsel John Durham's review of possible misconduct by the intelligence community and prosecutors who investigated the 2016 Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

Biden expresses "great confidence" in top general after Woodward report

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday expressed "great confidence" in Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley after a new book said the general secretly assured his Chinese counterpart that President Trump had no plans to launch an attack.

The big picture: Details emerged that Milley told his Chinese counterpart that if Trump did decide to attack, Milley would give him a heads-up, Axios' Jonathan Swan reports.

Updated 11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Bob Dole at an event put on by the World Food Program where he was awarded the first “McGovern-Dole Leadership Award” in December 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record.