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People walk along 8th Avenue in front of the New York Times headquarters. Photo: Gary Hershorn/Corbis via Getty Images

The Trump administration secretly seized the phone records of four New York Times reporters, the newspaper wrote Wednesday.

Why it matters: The disclosure comes less than a month after it was revealed that the Department of Justice under former President Trump obtained the communication records of three Washington Post journalists and one CNN reporter.

The big picture: The Justice Department told the Times that authorities in 2020 seized the four NYT journalists' phone records from Jan. 14 to April 30, 2017 as part of a leak investigation.

  • It added that the department had secured a court order to seize the logs of the journalists' emails, but "no records were obtained."
  • The Justice Department did not say which article was being investigated, the Times noted.
    • "But the lineup of reporters and the timing suggested that the leak investigation related to classified information reported in an April 22, 2017, article the four reporters wrote about how James B. Comey, then the F.B.I. director, handled politically charged investigations during the 2016 presidential election," the Times wrote Wednesday.
  • The Justice Department said that all “members of the news media have now been notified in every instance," of leak investigations between 2019-2020 that records were obtained, per NYT.

What they're saying: “Seizing the phone records of journalists profoundly undermines press freedom,” Times executive editor Dean Baquet said in a statement, according to the newspaper.

  • “It threatens to silence the sources we depend on to provide the public with essential information about what the government is doing,” he added.
  • "We expect the Department of Justice to explain why this action was taken and what steps are being taken to make certain it does not happen again in the future.”

President Biden last month said he would not allow the Justice Department to seize journalists’ email or phone records, calling the practice "simply, simply wrong."

Go deeper

Capitol riot panel says it received "thousands" of documents for probe

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Photo: Brent Stirton/Getty Images

The House select committee in charge of investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot announced late Thursday that it had received "thousands of pages of documents" in relation to the investigation.

Driving the news: On Aug. 25, the committee sent requests to federal agencies asking them to preserve records and documents that contained information related to the attack. The panel gave the agencies a Sept. 9 deadline to hand over the materials.

Education Department investigating Florida over mask mandate ban

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

The Education Department announced Friday that it is investigating Florida over its ban on mask mandates.

Why it matters: The investigation, which said the ban could discriminate against students with disabilities or underlying medical conditions, is the latest development in both the legal back-and-forth over masks in Florida schools and between the Biden administration and GOP-led states over mask mandates.

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.