House Judiciary Committee launches probe into CBS firing, seizing files of veteran reporter Catherine Herridge covering Hunter Biden’s laptop scandal

The House Judiciary Committee is calling CBS on the carpet over the firing of veteran reporter Catherine Herridge, who was probing the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, and the subsequent seizure of her personal records, The Post has learned.

In a scathing letter sent to CBS News President Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews on Friday — obtained exclusively by The Post — Rep. Jim Jordan, who chairs the committee, demanded the network reveal who at CBS or parent-company Paramount Global “made the decision to terminate” Herridge.

The committee said it also wants to know why her confidential files were “seized” as part of the termination.

Herridge’s files were seized by CBS News after she was let go, and now the House Judiciary Committee is launching a probe. Catherine Herridge/X

“The unprecedented actions of CBS News threaten to chill good journalism and ultimately weaken our nation’s commitment to a free press,” the letter stated.

Herridge — who is the middle of a First Amendment case being closely watched by journalists nationwide — was among just 20 CBS News staffers let go as part of a larger purge of 800 employees at parent company Paramount Global.

A source with knowledge told The Post on Thursday that the network boxed up all Herridge’s personal belongings except for her notes and files and informed her that it would decide what — if anything — would be returned to her.

Jordan (R-Ohio) also requested a list of individuals who went through Herridge’s files, as well as any documents and communications relating to her documents.

The committee also seeks information on any individual from Paramount Global, CBS or CBS News accessed the confidential materials, “reviewed any of her confidential materials, copied or retained any of her confidential materials, or conducted any forensic examination of her confidential materials.”

The committee sent a letter to CBS News president Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, demanding she turn over information on who handled Herridge’s files at the network. Getty Images

The committee gave Ciprian-Matthews a March 1 deadline “no later than 5 pm” to send in the information.

Herridge did not return requests for comment.

A CBS News spokesperson again refuted the characterization that the network confiscated Herridge’s private records.

“CBS News strongly denies any items were seized,” the rep said.

On Thursday, the CBS spokesperson insisted the network “respected [Herridge’s] request to not go through the files, and out of our concern for confidential sources, the office she occupied has remained secure since her departure.”

“We are prepared to pack up the rest of her files immediately on her behalf – with her representative present as she requested,” the network added.

The House probe comes amid uproar from employees who were first shocked the network would oust the journalist and equally stunned it retained her confidential files after she was let go.

“It’s so extraordinary,” a source familiar with the situation said, noting that the files — which are presumptively now the property of CBS News — most likely contain confidential material from Herridge’s stints at both Fox and CBS.

Herridge had encountered roadblocks in her coverage of the Hunter Biden’s laptop story, The Post recently reported. AP

Herridge had encountered roadblocks from higher-ups over her Hunter Biden coverage and had also clashed with Ciprian Matthews, a sharp-elbowed executive who was investigated — and cleared — in 2021 over favoritism and discriminatory hiring and management practices, as The Post previously reported.

“They never seize documents [when you’re let go],” a second source close to the network said. “They want to see what damaging documents she has.”

Rep. Jim Jordan sent a letter to CBS News on Friday that the House Judiciary Committee is launching a probe into CBS’s seizure of Herridge’s documents. Getty Images

Sources feared CBS’s actions could have an impact on Herridge’s First Amendment case because her documents may contain privileged conversations she had with her lawyers or the identities of sources.

Herridge is under fire for not complying with US District Judge Christopher Cooper’s order to reveal how she learned about a federal probe into a Chinese American scientist who operated a graduate program in Virginia.

The journalist may soon be held in contempt of court for not divulging her source for an investigative piece she penned in 2017 when she worked for Fox News.

As a result, Herridge could be ordered to personally pay fines that could total as much as $5,000 a day.

Herridge is at the center of a First Amendment case, which could impact press freedom principles. Nathan Posner/Shutterstock

Insiders said that there are concerns that CBS could be subpoenaed to reveal her source’s identity, which would threaten free-press principles.

SAG-AFTRA, the union that represents CBS staffers, condemned the network for seizing Herridge’s notes and research from her office late Thursday.

“This action is deeply concerning to the union because it sets a dangerous precedent for all media professionals and threatens the very foundation of the First Amendment,” the union said in a statement to The Post.

The union added it has been in touch with CBS News and is hopeful the matter “will be resolved shortly.”

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