Thanks to great reporting from the New York Times, we know that the Department of Justice regularly spied on Democratic members of Congress who were doing their duty and conducting oversight of the administration.
According to the 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. Representative Eric Swalwell of California said in an interview Thursday night that he had also been notified that his data had been subpoenaed.”
The report set off a firestorm on Capitol Hill, with calls for hearings on the spying and demands that those responsible for carrying out the acts be charged with crimes.
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, focused his attention on the current head of the DOJ, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and he demanded that Garland fire every single Trump appointee currently working at the Justice Department or else his committee will act decisively.
Nadler released a statement which reads in part:
“I am grateful that Inspector General Horowitz has committed to investigating both cases. His work here will be invaluable. An investigation by his office is, however, no substitute for swift action by the Department of Justice.
“The Committee has been in communication with DOJ, and we have made our position clear. The Department has a very short window to make a clean break from the Trump era on this matter. We expect the Department to provide a full accounting of these cases, and we expect the Attorney General to hold the relevant personnel accountable for their conduct. If the Department does not make substantial progress towards these two goals, then we on the Judiciary Committee will have no choice but to step in and do the work ourselves.”
That’s not just an idle threat. The House Judiciary Committee has tremendous power and decides how much funding the DOJ will receive each year. If AG Garland doesn’t weed out those who were appointed by Trump or played a role in the spying on members of Congress, Nadler’s committee can make life hell for the Justice Department and the attorney general.
The time has come to clean house at the DOJ. Every single person who has a connection to the Trump administration must be investigated, terminated, and charged if it can be proven they broke the law.