“Absolutely, positively it’s wrong,” Biden told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins at the White House, where he and South Korean Presdient Moon Jae-in were holding a joint briefing.
“It’s simply, simply wrong,” he continued, adding that he would “not let that happen” under his authority.
Biden’s remarks came on the heels of a CNN report that revealed that Trump’s Justice Department had collected the phone and email records of Barbara Starr, the network’s Pentagon correspondent, for a two-month period between June 1, 2017, and July 31, 2017.
During that period, Starr was reporting on the U.S. military’s options in North Korea and various interests in Syria and Afghanistan. It’s likely that the Trump administration was seeking intel about sources leaking information.
“CNN strongly condemns the secret collection of any aspect of a journalist’s correspondence, which is clearly protected by the First Amendment,” network president Jeff Zucker said in reaction to the revelation.
Biden’s condemnation is notable considering that former President Barack Obama, whom Biden served under as vice president, also secretly obtained reporters’ records. In 2013, reports exposed that the Obama administration had done so with reporters and editors of The Associated Press ― a move the outlet called a “serious interference with A.P.’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news.”