NBC anchor Chuck Todd took to his Twitter account Friday to publicly vow his intention to defy subpoenas that may come his way from the Department of Justice after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Friday the DOJ was reviewing some of its policies.
Sessions announced Friday that his agency was actively reviewing its policies toward subpoenaing journalists in investigations that include leaked information. The policy change could have wide-sweeping effects in the media and how reporters handle anonymous sources.
Sessions said at a press conference that a reporter's ability to protect its sources has to be weighed against the national security implications that leaked information may have.
"We respect the important role that the press plays and will give them respect, but it is not unlimited," Session said. "They cannot place lives at risk with impunity. We must balance their role with protecting our national security and the lives of those who serve in our intelligence community, the armed forces, and all law-abiding Americans."
Sessions did not clarify whether or not information leaked from the Trump administration has had national security consequences. However, given the implications a policy change could have — which may in the future include pressuring a reporter to either reveal his source or face jail time — journalists were quick to hit back.
Todd's remarks garnered much attention because of his sharp response.
"If DoJ media source threat is real (I assume it's not; just a show presser to please WH) then I look forward to ignoring that subpoena," Todd wrote on Twitter Friday afternoon.
If DoJ media source threat is real (I assume it's not; just a show presser to please WH) then I look forward to ignoring that subpoena— Chuck Todd (@Chuck Todd) 1501863597.0
He later doubled down and then offered Sessions some advice on how to truly stop the government leaks while taking a veiled shot at President Donald Trump.
"I'll say it again: the best way to prevent leaks for ANY org? Be a leader that inspires loyalty and cut out the staff infighting," Todd wrote. "The worst way to stop leaks: threats."
I'll say it again: the best way to prevent leaks for ANY org? Be a leader that inspires loyalty and cut out the staff infighting.— Chuck Todd (@Chuck Todd) 1501866993.0
The worst way to stop leaks: threats— Chuck Todd (@Chuck Todd) 1501867012.0
Leaks have been a major part of Trump's administration so far. From phone conversations Trump has had with foreign leaders, to internal communications and documents, leaks have severely plagued and enraged the West Wing.
Trump's supporters say the leaks stem from the "deep state" trying to overthrow Trump. The "deep state," they say, are the entrenched government bureaucrats who hate Trump because he's an "outsider" and want to overthrow his presidency.
During his press conference Friday, Sessions also announced that the DOJ "has more than tripled the number of active leak investigations," while four of those investigations have ended with criminal charges, according to the Washington Examiner.