Well, what do you know? Donald Trump did exactly what he said he was going to do. The president who saw an enemy under every bed, even his own, decided to force his Department of Justice to collect phone conversations and emails from members of the House Intelligence panel, their staff members, and their families, including a minor child. He even requested those of his own attorney, Don McGahn.
The Assosciated Press (AP) reported:
‘Apple informed former Trump White House counsel Don McGahn and his wife that the Justice Department had subpoenaed information about accounts belonging to them in 2018, a person familiar with the matter said Sunday, days after two House lawmakers disclosed they, too, had their information secretly subpoenaed.’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) appeared on CNN Sunday and responded:
‘What the Republicans did — what the administration did … goes even beyond Richard Nixon. Richard Nixon had an enemies list. This is about undermining the rule of law, and for these attorneys general … or Sessions, at least, to say they, too, didn’t know anything about it is beyond belief.’
She also told CNN’s State of the Union:
‘The Justice Department has been rogue under President Trump, understand that, in so many respects. This is just another manifestation of their rogue activity.’
Senate Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called on a Trump appointee and the current Assistant Attorney General for National Security, John Demers, to testify voluntarily or receive a subpoena. Schumer called it “imperative.” Demers has been in charge of the department’s national security division since February 2018. In fact, he was sworn in after the Apple subpoena was issued.
Schumer called on Senate Republicans to join in a demand to issue the subpoenas:
‘This was nothing less than a gross abuse of power. I don’t think we’ve ever had a record of this in the past. … This is about separation of powers.’
President Joe Biden has nominated Matt Olsen for the job of next Assistant Attorney General. In the meantime, Demers remains in place:
‘He] has experience in the Justice Department and served as director of the National Counterterrorism Center and as general counsel for the National Security Agency, to be the next assistant attorney general for national security.’
The DOJ also notified several news organization it collected phone records of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN as part of the criminal leak investigation. Only after the news hit did the DOJ announce it would cease and desist. Why that happened will be part of the ongoing investigation.
The attorney who served in the Justice Department as independent counsel to investigate President Bill Clinton, Kenneth Starr, weighed in on the current unpleasant situation, the AP reported:
‘The loss of liberty begins with small incursions by powerful sources. All too soon, the small incursions become a larger trend. That’s happening now. It needs to be stopped.’
Apple reported that the DOJ requested “customer or subscriber account information for 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses:”
‘The subpoena, issued Feb. 6, 2018, requested information on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple said. It also included a non-disclosure order that prohibited the company from notifying any of the people and was renewed three times.’
Friday, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco requested the Justice Department’s Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz begin a probe into the data it subpoenaed Apple. In addition, Horowitz said he would also investigate the seizure of journalist phone records. The inspector general released a statement, according to CNBC:
‘[The probe will review the] use of subpoenas and other legal authorities to obtain communication records [of Congress members, associates, and the news media] in connection with recent investigations of alleged unauthorized disclosures of information to the media by government officials.’
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.
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