House Judiciary to probe DOJ’s seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists

New York TImes/Pool

The House Judiciary Committee announced on Monday that it would be opening an investigation into the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) secret subpoenas of data from members of Congress and multiple journalists during the Trump administration.

“Recent reports suggest that, during the Trump Administration, the Department of Justice used criminal investigations as a pretext to spy on President Trump’s perceived political enemies,” the panel’s chairman, Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), said in the announcement.

“It remains possible that these cases — which now include Members of Congress, members of the press, and President Trump’s own White House Counsel — are isolated incidents,” Nadler added. “Even if these reports are completely unrelated, they raise serious constitutional and separation of power concerns. Congress must make it extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, for the Department to spy on the Congress or the news media.”

Last week, it was first reported by The New York Times that DOJ officials had subpoenaed Apple for information regarding accounts belonging to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), both vocal critics of then-President Trump, as well as their aides and family members.

Former attorneys general under the Trump administration Jeff Sessions and William Barr as well as former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein have all denied knowledge of the DOJ subpoenas.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday also launched an investigation into the subpoenas. The committee sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting a list of names responsible for initiating the subpoenas and asked the department to preserve relevant documents.

Nadler said his panel’s probe would seek to ascertain the full extent of the apparent “gross abuse of power” under the Trump administration and find the individuals responsible for the investigations.

“Like many Americans, I desperately want to see Attorney General Garland succeed in his goal of repairing the damage done by his predecessors and return a sense of ‘normal’ to the Department of Justice. It is an important and worthy undertaking,” he said. “Accordingly, the House Judiciary Committee will investigate the Trump Administration’s surveillance of Members of Congress, the news media, and others.”

The letter also asked the department to turn over the subpoenas and explain the process that went into seeking the data of U.S. lawmakers.

Tags Adam Schiff Department of Justice Donald Trump Eric Swalwell Jeff Sessions Jerry Nadler Merrick Garland Rod Rosenstein subpoenas United States House Committee on the Judiciary William Barr

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