The Justice Department will tighten its principles around obtaining records from members of Congress, Attorney General Merrick Garland stated, amid revelations the department under former President Donald Trump had covertly captured records from Democrats and members of the media.
“Consistent with our commitment to the rule of law,” Garland said Monday in a statement,”we need to make sure that total weight is accorded to separation-of-powers concerns moving forward.”
Garland’s statement came as a Justice Department official said that the top national security officer, John Demers, planned to depart by the end of next week. Demers, who had been sworn in a few weeks following the subpoena for the Democrats’ documents, is among those few Trump appointees that has stayed in the Biden administration.
The Justice Department is trying hard to contain the fallout over revelations that it had confiscated phone data from House Democrats and reporters as part of an aggressive investigation into leaks. The disclosure is also forcing Biden government officials to reunite to a fight with their predecessors — something they’ve wanted to prevent .
News outlets reported that the Justice Department had secretly subpoenaed Cupertino, California-based Apple Inc. in 2018 to get metadata from two Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee — California Rep. Adam Schiff and California Rep. Eric Swalwell — because their committee was investigating Trump’s ties to Russia. Schiff, in the time, was the top Democrat on the board, which was directed by Republicans.
Now the House Intelligence Committee Chair, Schiff said Monday that he had spoken with Garland, who had given his commitment to an independent investigation by the inspector general. Schiff stated that he had”every confidence” that Garland”will also do the kind of top-to-bottom inspection of this level to which the department was politicized during the previous administration and take corrective measures.”
The intelligence panel originally said 12 people joined to the committee — such as aides, former aides and family members had been trapped, but more have since been discovered, according to a person familiar with the issue who also wasn’t authorized to talk about it publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
A few people may not understand they were targeted because the Apple telling was email and showed up in the spam filters of a number of those who had been contacted, the person said.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., required a copy of the subpoena and other documents concerning the decision to obtain the order.