The US Justice Department under Trump fought to get emails belonging to 4 New York Times reporters

The New York Times Building is seen in New York City on February 4, 2021.
The New York Times Building is seen in New York City on February 4, 2021.

  • The US Justice Department under Trump sought the email records of four New York Times reporters.
  • The effort continued with the Biden administration, and was subject to a gag order.
  • The bid reflected the Trump administration’s effort to discover the reporters’ sources.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden’s administration kept moving forward with a secret legal battle that started at the end of President Donald Trump’s time in office. The battle revolved around an effort to obtain email records belonging to four New York Times reporters as part of a bid to discover their sources, The Times reported Friday.

David McCraw, a lawyer for The Times, said the Trump administration never told the newspaper about the legal effort, but the Biden administration did, sharing details with top executives. But a gag order imposed on March 3 kept the news away from the public until it was lifted, McCraw told the newspaper.

The leak investigation, like the many that reportedly occurred while Trump was in office, grew out of the former president’s aversion to news reporting that painted his administration in an unflattering light.

It was not clear why the former administration sought email data from The Times reporters in this particular case.

According to the newspaper, the reporters named in the request – Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau, and Michael S. Schmidt – and the timeframe in which the Trump administration sought email data suggests a focus on a story from April 2017 about how the former US attorney general James Comey handled “politically charged” investigations during the 2016 election.

The Times reported the administration tried to get the email logs directly from Google, which serviced The Times’ email accounts. The tech giant denied the request.

Google did not respond to Insider’s request for comment but a spokesperson told The Times the company is “firmly committed to protecting our customers’ data and we have a long history of pushing to notify our customers about any legal requests.”

McCraw said the hunt for the emails continued in Biden’s administration and he was only informed about it in March under a nondisclosure agreement.

The news comes just a few days after the Biden administration informed the four Times reporters that the Trump Justice Department secretly obtained their phone records in 2017.

“Seizing the phone records of journalists profoundly undermines press freedom,” Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The Times, said in a statement. “It threatens to silence the sources we depend on to provide the public with essential information about what the government is doing.”

The Trump administration also obtained the phone records of three Washington Post reporters and attempted to get their email records.

Last month, the Justice Department also revealed the Trump administration also attempted to secretly get ahold of the 2017 phone and email records of a CNN Pentagon correspondent.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump DOJ secretly pulled phone records for 4 New York Times reporters during an investigation into a leak

Nighttime view of the New York Times Building
Nighttime view of the New York Times Building

  • Trump’s DOJ secretly obtained the phone records of four NYT journalists, the The Times reported.
  • Three Washington Post reporters and CNN’s Barbara Starr also faced similar seizures.
  • Biden has called the practice “simply wrong” and said that his DOJ will not do it.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Trump administration’s Department of Justice covertly obtained the phone records of four New York Times reporters, the Biden administration told the paper on Wednesday.

The records, which were from a four-month period in 2017, were seized in 2020 during an investigation into a leak, The Times reported.

“Seizing the phone records of journalists profoundly undermines press freedom,” Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The Times, said in a statement. “It threatens to silence the sources we depend on to provide the public with essential information about what the government is doing.”

Read more: We identified the 125 people and institutions most responsible for Donald Trump’s rise to power and his norm-busting behavior that tested the boundaries of the US government and its institutions

The disclosure is just the latest from the Biden administration, which revealed in early May that the Trump administration’s Justice Department quietly accessed the 2017 phone records of three reporters from The Washington Post, and also tried to get their email records. All three of the reporters had been covering Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Later in May, the Justice Department revealed the previous administration had also secretly obtained phone and email records from 2017 of CNN’s pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.

The four Times reporters targeted were Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau and Michael S. Schmidt. The Justice Department did not indicate which of their articles was being scrutinized, but The Times said the reporters and timing suggested it was an April 2017 report about FBI Director James Comey’s handling of politically sensitive investigations during the 2016 election.

Following the disclosure Wednesday, Times reporter Adam Goldman tweeted that the Justice Department had “now secretly seized my phone records twice,” under both Obama and Trump.

“I don’t care who is president – Republican or Democrat – I will always try to inform the public,” the tweet continued.

Federal investigators have long-seized records from journalists, a controversial practice heavily used under the Obama administration and under Trump.

President Joe Biden told The Times last month the practice of seizing reporters records is “simply wrong” and that he will not let it occur under his Justice Department.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Bernie Sanders condemns what he calls ‘racist nationalism’ from Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu while calling for an immediate ceasefire

US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks with reporters about potential efforts to raise the minimum wage at the US Capitol in Washington, March 1, 2021.

  • In a New York Times essay, US Sen. Bernie Sanders called for an “evenhanded approach” to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
  • Sanders said the debate over Israel’s “right to defend itself” lacks context.
  • “[W]hy is the question almost never asked: ‘What are the rights of the Palestinian people?'”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sen. Bernie Sanders does not question Israel’s “right to defend itself.” But in an essay for The New York Times, published Friday, he argued that right must be discussed in the context of the Israeli government’s mistreatment of Palestinians.

“No one is arguing that Israel, or any government, does not have the right to self-defense,” Sanders wrote. But “why is the question almost never asked: ‘What are the rights of the Palestinian people?'”

At least 122 Palestinians have been killed this week by Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, including 31 children, according to local health officials. The attacks have come in response to rockets indiscriminately fired by militants with Hamas, the group that controls the Palestinian territory, which is home to more than two million people.

Calling for an immediate ceasefire, Sanders wrote that while Hamas’ actions are condemnable, “today’s conflict did not begin with those rockets.”

As Insider has reported, the latest round of fighting began after an Israeli court ruled Palestinians living in occupied East Jerusalem could be evicted from their homes to make way for Jewish settlers. Israel recognizes a Jewish “right of return” that is denied to Palestinians, thousands of whom were forced to flee their homes in what is now Israel during the 1948 war that marked its founding.

A recent report from Human Rights Watch described Israel’s discriminatory policies as amounting to “apartheid.”

Sanders, who as a young man worked on a commune in Israel, said those evictions “are just one part of a broader system of political and economic repression,” one that has worsened under Benjamin Netanyahu.

For more than a decade, the Israeli prime minster, a close ally of the former President Donald Trump, “has cultivated an increasingly intolerant and authoritarian type of racist nationalism,” Sanders wrote. And with the US providing nearly $4 billion a year in aid to Netanyahu’s government, it shares responsibility for Israeli actions, he said.

“We must change course and adopt an evenhanded approach,” Sanders wrote, “one that upholds and strengthens international law regarding the protection of civilians, as well as existing U.S. law holding that the provision of U.S. military aid must not enable human rights abuses.”

The essay comes amid a progressive backlash to President Joe Biden’s support for the Israeli government and its offensive on Gaza. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, like Sanders a democratic socialist, this week accused Biden of making statements that “dehumanize Palestinians” and provide a de facto green-light for Israeli military operations.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Mitch McConnell’s alma mater rejects his views on the 1619 project and says they are ‘quite troubling’

Mitch McConnell
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talks to reporters after the Senate voted to acquit U.S. President Trump of both charges in his Senate impeachment trial in Washington, U.S., February 5, 2020.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell has rebuked the 1619 project and disagrees with it being taught in schools.
  • McConnell’s alma mater sharply criticized his comments on the 1619 project.
  • The NYT’s 1619 project aims to place “the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s alma mater, the University of Louisville, sharply criticized comments the senator made at the school this week about the history of slavery in the United States.

During the event on Monday, McConnell was asked about his views on the New York Times’ 1619 project, a long-form magazine piece published in 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of slavery in the United States. The project “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative,” according to the Times.

The question came after the Republican leader sent a letter last week to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, writing that the 1619 project strives to “reorient” US history “away from their intended purposes toward a politicized and divisive agenda” and urging for its removal from school curricula.

McConnell reiterated his stance on Monday, saying: “There are a lot of exotic notions about what are the most important points in American history. I simply disagree with the notion that the New York Times laid out there that the year 1619 was one of those years.”

Senior officials at the university on Thursday rejected McConnell’s statements, according to reporting from WDRB, a Fox-affiliated news station in Louisville.

“As I am sure most of you are aware, the recent statements made by Sen. Mitch McConnell during a press conference in Louisville this week are quite troubling for American descendents of slaves, our allies and those who support us,” V. Faye Jones, the school’s interim senior associate vice president for diversity and equity, wrote in a university-wide email, per WDRB.

“To imply that slavery is not an important part of United States history not only fails to provide a true representation of the facts, but also denies the heritage, culture, resilience and survival of Black people in America,” Jones continued.

Jones added that she, the university’s president, and provost each “reject the idea that the year 1619 is not a critical moment in the history of this country.”

McConnell had listed what he believed to be important dates of American history, including “dates like 1776, the Declaration of Independence, 1787, the Constitution, 1861 to 1865, the Civil War, are sort of the basic tenets of American history,” he said on Monday.

“That issue that we all are concerned about – racial discrimination – it was our original sin. We’ve been working for 200 and some odd years to get past it. We’re still working on it,” McConnell said. “And I just simply don’t think that’s part of the core underpinning of what American civic education ought to be about.”

McConnell’s office did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

The author of the 1619 project, Nikole Hannah-Jones, pushed back on McConnell’s comments as well.

“No one can argue that 1619 was not a foundational date in American history,” Hannah-Jones said on MSNBC this week. “He’s just saying the truth is too difficult for, apparently, our nation to bear, and that we’re far too fragile to be able to withstand the scrutiny of the truth.”

The criticism comes as the Biden administration has emphasized tackling racial inequality and discrimination in the country.

Read the original article on Business Insider

News outlets including the Washington Post have retracted or amended reports claiming the FBI warned Giuliani he was the target of a Russian influence operation

Rudy Giuliani
Rudy Giuliani speaks during a news conference held by Donald Trump in the Briefing Room of the White House on September 27, 2020.

  • News outlets including the Washington Post retracted a claim about Rudy Giuliani.
  • Outlets retracted a claim that the FBI warned Giuliani he was being used to spread Russian disinformation.
  • Insider has amended its reporting in the light of the retraction.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Washington Post and other news outlets have retracted a claim that the FBI warned Rudy Giuliani that he was likely being targetted as part of a Russian disinformation campaign in 2019.

In an editor’s note the Post on Saturday said it was retracting a claim in a report Thursday that the FBI had warned both Giuliani and right-wing news network OANN about Russian efforts to use them to spread falsehoods.

It read: “Correction: An earlier version of this story, published Thursday, incorrectly reported that One America News was warned by the FBI that it was the target of a Russian influence operation. That version also said the FBI had provided a similar warning to Rudolph W. Giuliani, which he has since disputed. This version has been corrected to remove assertions that OAN and Giuliani received the warnings.”

Insider has amended its report on the claim in light of the retraction in the Post.

The New York Times and NBC News have withdrawn similar claims.

“An earlier version of this article misstated whether Rudolph W. Giuliani received a formal warning from the F.B.I. about Russian disinformation. Mr. Giuliani did not receive such a so-called defensive briefing,” reads the correction in the Times.

The reports all focussed on FBI raids on Giuliani’s office and apartment in Manhattan last week, in which agents seized computers and other devices belonging to Giuliani.

Investigators are reportedly probing whether Giuliani was acting on behalf of Ukrainian officials during his search for damaging information about Joe Biden, then Democratic presidential nominee, and his son, Hunter, in Ukraine in 2019.

The Times reported that Giuliani’s communications with the Trump administration over the firing of the US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, in May 2019 were being scrutinised the federal agents.

Giuliani has denied any wrongdoing.

“I’ve never represented a Ukrainian national or official before the United States government,” Giuliani said in an interview on Fox News on Thursday in the wake of the raids.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The New York Times is readying a newsletter push

Hi and welcome to Insider Advertising for April 26. I’m senior advertising reporter Lauren Johnson, and here’s what’s going on:

If this email was forwarded to you, sign up here for your daily insider’s guide to advertising and media.

Tips, comments, suggestions? Drop me a line at or on Twitter at @LaurenJohnson.

New York Times building

The New York Times is readying a big newsletter push as Substack tries to poach its top writers with advances worth hundreds of thousands

Read the story.

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

As Apple gets ready to blow up mobile advertising, this leaked sales deck shows how it was pitching the benefits of personalized ads in 2015

Read the story.

Shopify logo on phone
A Shopify logo displayed on a smartphone in front of a computer.

Shopify is losing nearly half of its C-suite, including key tech leadership. Analysts worry about what it means for its $1 billion plan to take the fight to Amazon.

Read the story.

More stories we’re reading:

Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow! You can reach me in the meantime at and subscribe to this daily email here.

Read the original article on Business Insider

More than 650 tech workers at The New York Times have formed a union to fight for more diversity, pay equity, and job security

The New York Times building is seen on June 30, 2020 in New York City.
The New York Times building.

  • More than 650 tech workers at The New York Times have formed a union called the Tech Times Guild.
  • The union said workers are facing “unexplained termination and opaque promotion processes.”
  • It’s organizing the formation with the NewsGuild union and awaiting recognition from the Times.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tech workers at The New York Times on Tuesday announced they have formed a union and asked for recognition from the publication.

The union, called the Tech Times Guild, represents more than 650 employees who work for the digital side of the company in roles such as software engineers, data analysts and product managers.

The Tech Times Guild said in a statement on Twitter that it’s organizing its formation with the NewsGuild of New York – an editorial union of more than 3,000 media workers at the Times, The Daily Beast, The Nation, and other media outlets.

Tech workers weren’t included in the NewsGuild because they weren’t allowed to join. The Tech Times Guild is looking to become a separate bargaining unit from the NewsGuild. It would communicate with the Times management independently.

“As of now, we face a number of challenges, including sudden or unexplained termination, opaque promotion processes, unpaid overtime, and underinvestment in diverse representation,” the Tech Times Guild tweeted.

“Without a union, we lack the data or bargaining rights to address these issues,” it said, adding that the tech workers will be able to build digital products and platforms in a company, which is more “equitable, healthy and just.”

“At The New York Times, we have a long history of positive and productive relationships with unions, and we respect the right of all employees to decide whether or not joining a union is right for them,” The New York Times said in a statement to Insider.

“We will take time to review this request and discuss it soon with representatives of the NewsGuild,” it said, adding that the company wants to “make sure all voices are heard.”

The forming of the Tech Times Guild comes three months after more than 200 Google employees formed a union to promote inclusivity, transparency, and ensure the company acts ethically. At Amazon, there was a historic push to form the company’s first union in the US last month but workers voted against it on April 9th.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Second aide to Rep. Matt Gaetz quits amid federal investigation, reportedly saying he didn’t want to work at a tabloid

Matt Gaetz cu
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 17: Representative Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, listens during a markup on H.R. 7120, the “Justice in Policing Act of 2020,” on June 17, 2020, in Washington, D.C. The House bill would make it easier to prosecute and sue officers and would ban federal officers from using choke holds, bar racial profiling, end “no-knock” search warrants in drug cases, create a national registry for police violations, and require local police departments that get federal funds to conduct bias training.

  • Florida Republican Matt Gaetz’s legislative director quit last week, The New York Times reported.
  • Devin Murphy is the second staffer to quit amid a federal investigation into Gaetz.
  • Murphy reportedly told associates he wanted to focus on policy, not work at a tabloid.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Another staffer for Rep. Matt Gaetz has quit amid a federal investigation into the Florida Republican, The New York Times reported Thursday night.

Devin Murphy, Gaetz’s legislative director, resigned last week, making him the second aide to quit since the investigation was made public. According to The Times, Murphy “told associates that he was interested in writing bills, not working at TMZ.”

Murphy had worked for Gaetz since 2017.

A spokesperson for Gaetz did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

News for the departure comes the same day that Gaetz’s press shop released a statement, attributed to “The Women of the Office,” offering support for the beleaguered congressman, who has denied that he engaged in human trafficking, paid for sex using campaign funds, or had a sexual relationship with an underage woman.

Earlier on Thursday, a lawyer for Gaetz’s friend and political ally, Joel Greenberg, announced that his client may be close to reaching a plea deal with the US Department of Justice. Greenberg has been charged with sex trafficking, among other crimes.

“I’m sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today,” the lawyer, Fritz Scheller, told reporters.

Gaetz is reportedly under federal investigation over possible sex trafficking. Gaetz has denied all allegations made against him, saying that he has never paid for sex.

Read the original article on Business Insider

YouTube confronts new brand safety problems

Hi and welcome to this weekly edition of Insider Advertising, where we track the big stories in media and advertising.

Remember you can sign up to get this newsletter daily here.

What we’re following this week:

Susan Wojcicki

YouTube’s new brand safety problem

YouTube has taken steps to remove offensive videos from its platform and give hesitant advertisers more controls since news reports revealed four years ago that ads had appeared alongside offensive videos, including terrorist content, causing dozens of advertisers to yank their ads.

But Lara O’Reilly reports on a new investigation that found YouTube has been running ads from major advertisers including Facebook and Disney on videos depicting animal cruelty.

With 500 hours of content uploaded every minute, and a business model based on monetizing algorithmically driven viewing, it’s hard to see YouTube’s measures ever being completely foolproof.

As Michael Schwalb of JW Player, a video streaming and adtech company, told Lara: “They can offer all these different features and technologies and solutions for brand safety but the challenge for them will always ultimately be the scale. It’s just not feasible to be able to monitor everything all the time, 24/7 – the risk is still there that you’re going to end up on something that’s controversial.”

Read the rest here: YouTube has been running ads from big brands on videos depicting animal cruelty

trump phone

Trump’s media plans

The latest on Donald Trump’s media plans come from Tom LoBianco, whose sources tell him Trump’s ex-campaign manager Brad Parscale is building a tech platform that Trump could use.

Tom reports:

“Trump advisors frequently clashed during the president’s reelection bid over Parscale’s role on the campaign. But even detractors still praised his digital media and technology skills, including an extensive campaign app he built for the 2020 White House run.”

Trump was banned from Twitter over his remarks inciting the Capitol attacks in January, and he’ll have to rebuild his public presence if he plans to seek the presidency again.

Read more: Trump advisors expect ex-president’s Twitter alternative to run on a new platform built by Brad Parscale

Nighttime view of the New York Times Building
Nighttime view of the New York Times Building

The Times’ moonlighting policy

New York Times reporters have long supplemented their income with things like TV contributor contracts and book deals.

But that could get harder in the wake of news that columnist David Brooks was paid by a Facebook-funded Aspen Institute project that he had written about in the Times. That arrangement raised conflict of interest concerns and Brooks resigned from the think tank.

Now the Times is creating a new system to approve outside work by its journalists, Steven Perlberg reports.

But the new rules could backfire with some journalists who have more opportunities than ever to make money on the side, through tweets and newsletters.

Read more: Leaked memo: The New York Times is setting up a new process for approving reporters’ newsletters, podcasts, and book deals

Read also:

Other stories we’re reading:

Thanks for reading, and see you in a week.

– Lucia

Read the original article on Business Insider

Retail advertising’s growing pains

Hi and welcome to this weekly edition of Insider Advertising, where we track the big stories in media and advertising.

Remember you can sign up to get this newsletter daily here

This week: 

CVS pharmacy

Retail advertising’s slog

It seems like every day there’s another retailer that’s trying to turn its site into an advertising platform.

Ulta Beauty, CVS and Walgreens, to name a few, have accelerated their ad businesses to capitalize on online shopping growth in the pandemic and offset shrinking retail margins.

This is welcome news to advertisers, which are eager for advertising alternatives to Amazon.

But as ad execs told Lauren Johnson, these retailers have their work cut out for them.

As they see it, retailers face stiff competition for big brands’ advertising, don’t share enough shopper data, and are inefficient to buy.

“There is a big opportunity, but most these platforms are still pretty nascent in media capability,” Jessica Richards, EVP of Havas Media Group, told Lauren. “Our prediction is this will be a big growth area in 2021 and the sophistication of targeting, sales tracking and more access to inventory via expanded sources will come soon.”

Read more: Big retailers like Walmart and CVS are trying to cash in on the soaring e-commerce ad business, but many advertisers aren’t sold

Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Google backed out Project Maven, a controversial AI project with the Pentagon, but has continued working with the agency.

Google’s ‘sweetheart deals’

Revenue-share agreements and other incentive programs have long been a contentious issue in the advertising sector. High-profile marketers have called for their agencies to provide more transparency in their contracts in recent years.

Now some rev-share agreements that Google has with a select number of adtech companies are getting new attention as smaller adtech firms struggle in the down economy and as Google faces accusations of anticompetitive behavior.

One such smaller adtech operator, Liam Patterson of Bidnamic, called these little-known RSA agreements “a kick in the teeth” for smaller adtech companies struggling to survive.

Martin Coulter and Lara O’Reilly revealed details of some of these deals, which include Google paying Marin Software more than $12 million in 2019.

Read more: Google has signed a number of little-known revenue share agreements with ad companies – but some smaller firms describe them as unfair ‘sweetheart deals’ 

Nighttime view of the New York Times Building
Nighttime view of the New York Times Building

Times a-changing

ICYMI, Steven Perlberg had a great profile on Carolyn Ryan at The New York Times, who’s seen as a contender to be its next top editor.

Ryan checks a lot of the traditional journalistic boxes one might expect of the executive editor at the Times – but also stands out as the executive supervising its most fraught topic: newsroom culture.

Her rise also reflects how newsrooms’ priorities have changed. Earlier in the shift from print to digital, a lot of their focus was on expanding their subscriptions, product expertise and storytelling abilities.

Now, with a broader social reckoning going on, diversifying their staffs and coverage has taken center stage. At the Times, that’s also meant dealing with tension and controversy that’s erupted in part as a result of expectations by its newer, more diverse staff about how much they should change the newsroom, and vice versa.

“After Dean, Carolyn has the hardest management job in the newsroom right now. Her portfolio is at the center of all the questions that are roiling the newsroom,” Nicholas Confessore, a Times reporter who has worked under Ryan, told Perlberg.

Read the full story: Carolyn Ryan is the most powerful woman in The New York Times newsroom – and she could become its next top editor 

More stories we’re reading:

That’s it for me this week. Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

– Lucia

Read the original article on Business Insider