Multiple media organizations have declined to meet with Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden on Trump: 'He'll leave' l GOP laywers brush off Trump's election remarks l Obama's endorsements Obama endorses Warnock in crowded Georgia Senate race The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's rally risk | Biden ramps up legal team | Biden hits Trump over climate policy MORE for an off-the-record discussion on the Justice Department’s aggressive policy of targeting the media in national security leaks investigations. 

The New York Times, The Associated Press, The Huffington Post and CNN issued separate statements late Wednesday and early Thursday saying they would not attend because of the off-the-record nature of the meetings. The groups said the DOJ’s insistence that the media groups not report on the content of their discussions violated their internal policies and journalistic guidelines.


“We will not be attending the session at DOJ,” New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson said in a statement. “It isn’t appropriate for us to attend an off the record meeting with the Attorney General. Our Washington bureau is aggressively covering the department’s handling of leak investigations at this time.”

All four organizations said they would be happy to meet with Holder if they could report on the content of the meeting.

The declined invitations are the latest setback for the embattled attorney general, who has been under fire from the left and the right over tactics the DOJ has used to investigate reporters for leaks it considers to be of national security interest.

The Justice Department seized two months of phone records from Associated Press reporters and also obtained phone and email records from Fox News Washington correspondent James Rosen in separate leaks investigations. 

Rosen was dubbed a “co-conspirator” by the Justice Department in their warrant request to seize his email records, according to reports.

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are also investigating whether Holder lied in his May 15 testimony to the panel, when he said that “potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material” is “not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy.”

President Obama has directed Holder to review the DOJ’s media subpoena policies, and the off-the-record meeting with reporters was an attempt to ensure the press corps that its investigations are conducted in a way that respects the First Amendment.

The DOJ has two days of meetings scheduled with representatives from across the media spectrum.

“This review, which was announced by President Obama last Thursday, is consistent with the attorney general’s long standing belief that protecting and defending the First Amendment is essential to our democracy,” a DOJ official told The Hill on Wednesday about the meetings.