As a candidate, Trump repeatedly went after the press: accusing them of being “rigged” and “unfair,” pointing out particular reporters he didn’t like during rallies, and promising to “open up” libel laws to more easily sue news organizations.
Obama has left him a chilling legacy to continue with regard to the Fourth Estate. In an unusual move, his Justice Department subpoenaed the telephone records of journalists working for the Associated Press to track down a leak. And it investigated a Fox News reporter as a probable “co-conspirator” in another national security case in order to get his emails and phone records.
The Obama administration also used the Espionage Act against whistleblowers who shared secret information with reporters more often than all previous administrations combined.
“It wouldn’t be surprising to see a crackdown to prosecute whistleblowers. The Trump administration without question would be able to say, well, the Obama administration did this all the time. And that’s indisputably true,” said Chris Calabrese, vice president of policy at the Center for Democracy & Technology.