Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Friday that the Justice Department is "reviewing policies" for issuing subpoenas to reporters in order to investigate government leaks.
President Donald Trump has long vowed to get to the bottom of the issue, despite saying during the 2016 presidential campaign that he "loves WikiLeaks." Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci even threatened to fire virtually everyone in the White House press office if it meant solving the ongoing problem.
“I’m committed to taking the comms shop down to [press secretary] Sarah [Huckabee Sanders] and me, if I can’t get the leaks to stop,” Scaramucci said July 25 during an interview with Politico.
Trump took aim at Sessions on Twitter on July 25, saying that his own attorney general took a "very weak position" on intelligence leakers.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017
That tweet, along with several others, raised speculation as to whether the president could be considering firing Sessions.
On Wednesday, however, newly appointed White House chief of staff Gen. John Kelly reportedly called Sessions to reassure him his job was safe, the Associated Press reported.
Just two days later, Sessions said he and others at the Justice Department are considering is whether to hold reporters accountable for information being leaked by government workers.
"I've listened to our career investigators, FBI agents and others, and our prosecutors, about how to most successfully investigate and prosecute these matters. At their suggestion, one of the things we are doing is reviewing policies affecting media subpoenas," Sessions said Friday.
"We respect the important role that the press plays and will give them respect. But it is not unlimited. They cannot place lives at risk with impunity," he said. "We must balance the press' role with protecting our national security and the lives of those who serve in the intelligence community, law enforcement and all law-abiding Americans."
AG Jeff Sessions, citing leaks, says he's "reviewing policies" for subpoenaing the press. "They cannot place lives at risk with impunity." pic.twitter.com/U35g1QankV
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 4, 2017
Sessions also said Friday that the Justice Department has tripled the number of leak investigations since the end of the Obama administration, NBC News reported. Obama's Justice Department, under the leadership of former Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, prosecuted more leak-related cases than any other administration in American history.
To those who might be considering leaking sensitive or classified information to the press, Sessions warned Friday, "don't do it."