Attorney General Merrick Garland has now publicly spoken out about the growing scandal surrounding the Trump Justice Department’s subpoenas for communications data for two Democratic members of Congress along with staffers and family members of both individuals. During the Trump era, Justice Department officials obtained that data in connection to an investigation into the source of leaks of government information, although there’s no apparent indication that anything has ever turned up tying the Democratic members of Congress who were targeted — including Reps. Adam Schiff (Calif.) and Eric Swalwell (Calif.) — to the leaks.
Garland indicated in his new public statement that he had referred the matter to Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who oversees the Justice Department and whose investigation into the issue has already been announced. Horowitz will also be examining the Trump Justice Department’s efforts to obtain communications data for certain journalists from major media outlets.
Garland said, in part, as follows:
‘As I stated during my confirmation hearing, political or other improper considerations must play no role in any investigative or prosecutorial decisions. These principles that have long been held as sacrosanct by the DOJ career workforce will be vigorously guarded on my watch, and any failure to live up to them will be met with strict accountability. There are important questions that must be resolved in connection with an effort by the department to obtain records related to Members of Congress and Congressional staff.’
Garland also said that if any time in the course of Horowitz’s investigation, “action related to the matter in question is warranted,” he “will not hesitate to move swiftly.” In more proactive terms, Garland also said that he had directed Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco “to evaluate and strengthen the department’s existing policies and procedures for obtaining records of the Legislative branch.” Check out his remarks by clicking on the post below:
AG Merrick Garland: "There are important questions that must be resolved in connection with an effort by the department to obtain records related to Members of Congress and Congressional staff.” pic.twitter.com/wRdXMGcInh
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) June 14, 2021
Alongside the investigation by Inspector General Horowitz, Democratic leaders in Congress have already indicated their own plans for an investigation of the issue. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Judiciary Committee chair Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) are demanding testimony from Trump era Attorney Generals Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions — both of whom have claimed that they did not know of the subpoenas for Democratic data but neither of whom are known as consistently credible sources.