Justice Dept. to meet with journalism group on subpoena guidelines

Justice Dept. to meet with journalism group on subpoena guidelines
© Getty Images

Justice Department officials are slated to meet with a nonprofit journalism organization on Thursday as the administration moves to revisit its rules on whether to subpoena reporters who receive classified information.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press will meet with individuals in the Justice Department's public affairs office to discuss new subpoena guidelines, a department spokesperson confirmed to The Hill. 

The group previously worked with former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderFBI, Justice Dept plan to redact Russia documents despite Trump order for full declassification: report Dem lawmakers slam Trump’s declassification of Russia documents as ‘brazen abuse of power’ Dem lawmaker jabs Trump call for transparency by asking for his tax returns MORE as the Obama administration last updated its guidance on issuing subpoenas in 2015. The group said that it also worked with Holder's successor, Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

ADVERTISEMENT

"We were involved in coordinating the dialogue with Holder when he was there, and then with Attorney General Lynch," the group's executive director, Bruce Brown, told the Washington Examiner, adding that the group is "playing a similar role here."

Brown said he will meet Thursday to set up logistics for the first meeting. He has also reportedly asked the agency for more time gathering members of the news media in the News Media Dialogue Group, which presents the press's standpoint on issues like journalist subpoenas.

A Justice Department spokesperson said the meeting is for planning purposes and has "no substantive agenda." The spokesperson didn't elaborate on what guidelines might be under review.

President Trump's attorney general, Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump vows to get rid of 'stench' at DOJ, FBI NY Times, McCabe give Trump perfect cover to fire Rosenstein, Sessions House Judiciary on NY Times article: I intend to subpoena 'McCabe Memos' MOREannounced Friday a governmentwide crackdown on leaks, saying his department would review its policies on subpoenaing media outlets that publish sensitive information.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Monday accused the Trump administration of "weaponizing" the Justice Department in its pursuit of leakers, adding that revising subpoena power over journalists who publish leaks could have "a chilling effect on the press, and on whistleblowers, and on information that doesn't involve classified data or disclosures but in fact maybe just embarrassing or unwelcome."