Senior Legal Affairs Reporter
Josh Gerstein is POLITICO’s Senior Legal Affairs Reporter.
Gerstein covers the intersection of law and politics, including Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of President Donald Trump and his associates, as well as ensuing counter-investigations into the origins of the FBI’s initial inquiry into the Trump-Russia saga.
While not a lawyer, Gerstein’s spent more time in courtrooms and more time reading legal pleadings than many members of the bar.
For more than a decade, he has taken POLITICO readers inside the most celebrated political trials of our era, involving figures like former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), former White House counsel Greg Craig, longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
Gerstein served as a contributor to MSNBC for several of those trials. In addition, his reporting and legal analysis has been featured in outlets such as National Public Radio, CNN, Fox News Al Jazeera, the New York Times and the New Republic.
Gerstein also reports on the Justice Department and legal controversies, including Supreme Court showdowns over same-sex marriage and Obamacare, all of the recent Supreme Court nominations, criminal justice reform and battles over executive privilege.
Just before President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009, Gerstein joined POLITICO as a White House reporter, returning to a beat he covered as a White House correspondent for ABC News. At ABC, he reported on President Bill Clinton’s impeachment and President George W. Bush’s response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Gerstein began his professional career at CNN’s investigative unit and later served for ABC as what is now known as an “embed” covering Sen. Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign. Years later, Gerstein became the Beijing correspondent for ABC, reporting from the deserted streets of China’s capital during the SARS crisis, on threats to U.S. diplomats in Pakistan and from Afghanistan on the families of Guantanamo prisoners.
From 2003 to 2008, Gerstein was based in northern California as a national reporter for the New York Sun, covering such stories as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s unorthodox gubernatorial bid and the ins and outs of two presidential elections.
In 2019, Gerstein’s POLITICO Magazine report on a secret deal between the U.S. and Australia to resettle refugees who once faced a potential death penalty for murdering tourists was a finalist for “Scoop of the Year” in Australia’s most prestigious journalism awards, the Walkleys.
Gerstein attended Harvard College and received a Bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in government.
Evincing his lifelong interest in transparency and open government, Gerstein is the author of a 1991 Massachusetts law requiring college and university police departments to keep a public log of arrests and reported crimes.
He’s also an expert on the Freedom of Information Act and has pursued several such cases, seeking details about alleged abuse of detainees at Guantanamo and the government’s handling of leaks of classified information.