CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr was informed by the Justice Department last week that federal prosecutors in the Trump administration secretly sought and obtained her phone and email records covering two months, between June 1, 2017 to July 31, 2017.
According to the report by Starr’s CNN colleagues Jeremy Herb and Jessica Schneider, the legal process to obtain Starr’s records was given a thumbs-up in 2020, toward the end of the Trump presidency.
Herb and Schneider add:
It is unclear when the investigation was opened, whether it happened under Attorney General Jeff Sessions or Attorney General William Barr, and what the Trump administration was looking for in Starr’s records. The Justice Department confirmed the records were sought through the courts last year but provided no further explanation or context.
CNN president Jeff Zucker put out the following statement regarding the revelation: “CNN strongly condemns the secret collection of any aspect of a journalist’s correspondence, which is clearly protected by the First Amendment. We are asking for an immediate meeting with the Justice Department for an explanation.”
As of Friday morning, Starr’s Twitter account is now private. However, she tweeted the day before: “Tomorrow, all of CNN will do what we do everyday around the world. The Pentagon Press Corps will do the same. We are not leaving, not stopping. We are ALL staying and reporting the news. If you need any reminder read the #FirstAmendment.”