The Trump administration battled with CNN for half a year to obtain the email records of a reporter and insisted it all take place under an extraordinary order of secrecy, CNN's lead attorney revealed on Wednesday.
The pursuit — which started in July 2020 under then-Attorney General William Barr with a demand for two months' of CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr's 2017 email logs — continued even after a federal judge told the Justice Department its argument for access to Starr's internal emails was "speculative" and "unanchored in any facts."
The Trump administration's secret pursuit represents a highly unusual and unrelenting push for journalists' records. It included putting CNN general counsel David Vigilante under a gag order prohibiting him 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.
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