WASHINGTON, May 7, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Leaders of the National Press Club and National Press Club Journalism Institute issued the following statement in response to a news report that the Justice Department subpoenaed phone records of three Washington Post reporters.
The Post reporters in question had been reporting on Russian interference in the 2016 election, including classified intercepts showing contacts in 2016 between Jeff Sessions, then a Trump campaign official, and Russia's ambassador to the United States.
NPC President Lisa Nicole Matthews and NPCJI President Angela Greiling Keane said:
"This is yet another deeply disturbing example in a series of violations by the Trump administration of America's trust in government and an outright assault against the press and the First Amendment. While the government has a right to probe leaks of classified information, it must take great care to avoid a harm that could prove more serious: chilling the flow of information to the free press. The motives behind the Trump administration's subpoenas are not known, but their timing and circumstances raise the possibility that officials may have been more interested in punishing the source of embarrassing leaks than protecting national security.
We also ask that Attorney General Merrick Garland investigate whether anyone in the Trump White House was involved in the decision to subpoena or saw the reporters' records."
Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world's leading professional organization for journalists. The Club has 3,000 members representing nearly every major news organization and is a leading voice for press freedom in the United States and around the world.
The National Press Club Journalism Institute, the Club's non-profit affiliate, promotes an engaged global citizenry through an independent and free press and equips journalists with skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire civic engagement.
Contact: John M. Donnelly, Chairman, NPC Press Freedom Team: [email protected]; 202 650 6738.