DOJ Leak Investigation Targeted Rep. Adam Schiff And His Family Members
from the how-do-you-like-those-expanded-powers-now,-Adam? dept
Former president Trump made plenty of noise about the Deep State being out to get him. But he apparently didn’t see anything wrong with sending the Deep State after his enemies.
One of his main enemies was the press — something he pointed out frequently when he still had viable social media accounts. Everyone who published anything that didn’t glorify him and his actions deserved nothing more than disdain. They also, apparently, deserved DOJ investigations. The Trump White House was notoriously leaky and Trump allowed successive AGs to attempt to obtain journalists’ communication records in hopes of discovering the source of multiple leaks.
One of his other nemeses was the (so-called) “Democrat” Party. Members of the opposition were also apparently targets of DOJ leak investigations. Somewhat ironically, one target was a strong supporter of unchecked surveillance and FBI abuse of NSA collections. Adam Schiff — who inserted a loophole to allow the FBI to continue its backdoor searches of NSA collections while renewing Patriot Act powers — was apparently singled out for the Deep State experience, according to this article by the New York Times.
As the Justice Department investigated who was behind leaks of classified information early in the Trump administration, it took a highly unusual step: Prosecutors subpoenaed Apple for data from the accounts of at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, aides and family members. One was a minor.
All told, the records of at least a dozen people tied to the committee were seized in 2017 and early 2018, including those of Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, then the panel’s top Democrat and now its chairman, according to committee officials and two other people briefed on the inquiry.
This investigation centered on leaks surrounding the investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia and that country’s interference in the 2016 election. It began under Jeff Sessions but apparently hit a dead end. Investigators discussed shutting this investigation down, but it was revived by Trump’s new DOJ lap dog, Bill Barr, when he succeeded Sessions.
Apple was hit with a gag order that prevented it from notifying Schiff and other targets about the DOJ’s interest in their records. That order finally expired in 2021, nearly four years after it was issued.
Adam Schiff isn’t too happy about this particular use of the DOJ’s power.
Mr. Schiff called the subpoenas for data on committee members and staff another example of Mr. Trump using the Justice Department as a “cudgel against his political opponents and members of the media.”
We’ll see if Schiff being on the receiving end of these powers will force him to rethink his position supporting the DOJ’s use of this “cudgel” against everyday Americans who aren’t on his team or work for media outlets that routinely criticize him.
And he’s yet another person asking for the Inspector General to investigate the DOJ’s willingness to violate trust and Constitutional amendments when conducting leak investigations. It will likely be months, if not years, before we see the end result of any investigations, but the growing chorus of voices demanding a closer look by the DOJ’s oversight should make it more difficult to ignore.
The DOJ needs to answer for the abuses it has perpetrated in service to presidential administrations more interested in sealing leaks than respecting rights. And it needs to take solid, substantial steps to prevent this unfortunate history from repeating in the future, no matter who’s running the country.