(TheRedWire.com) – A group of Senate Republicans, including Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Chuck Grassley, have initiated an inquiry into claims that the Justice Department once conducted clandestine surveillance on Congressional staff and their legal advisors. This action follows the acquisition of a letter directed to Attorney General Merrick Garland, as reported by Newsweek.
The correspondence, finalized on a recent Wednesday, alleges the DOJ discreetly monitoring the private communications of lawyers linked to congressional committees. It references data presented by Empower Oversight, a bipartisan watchdog. Through a FOIA request, this organization disclosed that its founder, Jason Foster, was informed about a DOJ subpoena issued to Google for his communication records in 2017. At that time, Foster was part of Senator Grassley’s team, probing into misconduct within the DOJ.
Further, the Republican Senators highlighted other incidents where the DOJ appeared to target the personal records of Congressional staff, notably from the House Intelligence Committee. They recollected an episode from January 2018 when Rod Rosenstein, the then Deputy Attorney General, allegedly threatened to subpoena these records during a dispute over the DOJ’s noncompliance with the committee’s demands.
Fox News had earlier shed light on Rosenstein’s purported threat based on emails that surfaced during a private meeting.
The letter also mentions that Congressional Democrats, including Representative Adam Schiff from California, have voiced similar apprehensions regarding DOJ’s overreach into their private communications.
In their appeal, the Republican Senators demand a thorough disclosure from the DOJ, seeking details about the officials who may have issued these subpoenas, the individuals targeted, and the grounds for these actions being justified.
They expressed grave concerns over this apparent abuse of power and its implications on the principles of separation of powers. The Senators concluded by emphasizing the need for transparency, stating that such invasive and extensive efforts to collect personal communications through grand jury subpoenas or other means without clear justification are profoundly inappropriate and undermine public trust in the justice system.
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