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Trump DOJ spent half a year pursuing CNN reporter's records

The Department of Justice (DOJ) under former President TrumpDonald TrumpWhat blue wave? A close look at Texas today tells of a different story Democrats go down to the wire with Manchin Trump's former bodyguard investigated in NY prosectors' probe: report MORE secretly spent half a year to obtain records from CNN Pentagon reporter Barbara Starr

CNN’s lead attorney, David Vigilante, informed the news outlet that he was placed under a gag order under which he was strictly limited to who he could speak to about the effort.

CNN previously reported that the DOJ informed Starr on May 13 that prosecutors obtained her phone and email records from June 1 to July 31, 2017. At the time, it was not clear when the search occurred.

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But Vigilante told the news outlet Wednesday that in July 2020, the DOJ demanded CNN produce what would have been 30,000 email records from Starr.

The attorney also said at the time that he was placed under a gag order severely limiting who he could talk with about the effort — the network’s president, attorneys at CNN’s corporate parent and attorneys at an outside firm. He couldn’t even tell Starr about the effort.

CNN began fighting the order for Starr’s records in court in September 2020 and was finally able to reach a resolution on Jan. 26. At that point, the gag order on Vigilante was also lifted.

Vigilante said in a live interview that he still doesn’t know exactly what the government was looking for.

“Truthfully, I really did not have any idea of what the government wanted and, candidly, to this day I don't know because it was such an opaque process,” Vigilante said.

The disclosure comes after the DOJ said Saturday that it was no longer seeking records from reporters as part of leak investigations.

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The Biden administration has been under scrutiny in recent weeks as news outlets reveal the lengths the Trump administration went to obtain records from reporters.

Aside from CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times have also been notified by the DOJ that the Trump administration sought records from several of its reporters.

The Times further revealed last Friday that the Department of Justice obtained a gag order to prevent the effort to obtain email logs from four of its reporters from going public.