Legal experts are both shocked and not surprised after the New York Times revealed that disgraced former President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice spied on top House Democrats and their families.
We already know that Trump used the DOJ to persecute critics and political opponents. But now we know that Trump’s DOJ seized the personal records of Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) as they were investigating his ties to Russia.
“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,” the NYT report stated.
It’s yet another serious abuse of power committed by Trump and his goons, and they need to be held accountable for it. Legal experts were stunned by the revelation but not completely surprised since corruption thrived under Trump.
First Comey, now Schiff. Clear that leak investigations are the way DOJ officials decided they could answer Trump’s demand to target his political opponents while telling themselves they were just following the law. Without a doubt more to come.
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) June 11, 2021
I would be angry and appalled but not surprised if only Democrats records were secretly seized. https://t.co/6RKvD1e2o6
— Jill Wine-Banks (@JillWineBanks) June 11, 2021
Actually, that’s not the worst thing. The worst thing is that it was the WH that demanded investigation (Barr picked it back up after it lagged) because they were upset about leaks. Not ones that compromised national security, but leaks that exposed wrongdoing inside of the WH.
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) June 11, 2021
Was Barr helping Trump run a police state? It’s starting to look like it.https://t.co/LTz4HlO8EG
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) June 11, 2021
Much to learn here about the subpoena of records from Judiciary Comm members aides & family. On the one hand, as vicious and Nixonian as anything we’ve seen. On the other, expect argument of valid predicate for a leak inves. But who really drove it and why so crazy aggressive??
— Harry Litman (@harrylitman) June 11, 2021
If DOJ can secretly wield its power against Members of Congress investigating the Administration, that subverts the Separation of Powers. It causes a chilling effect on Members to speak against or investigate the executive branch. DOJ personnel involved in this need to resign. https://t.co/AUJn0H53Ns
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) June 11, 2021
Two legal experts even pointed out the hypocrisy of the spying since Trump once argued that Congress can’t investigate the president.
SAME DOJ, arguing in Trump v. Vance & Trump v. Mazars that separation of powers precludes subpoenas involving a president’s personal records https://t.co/mD3STa0Uu7 pic.twitter.com/DTBPWetBv0
— Steven Mazie (@stevenmazie) June 11, 2021
IOW, the separation of powers constrains Congress’s ability to investigate the President but not the President’s ability to investigate Congress.
This is what happens when so few of these disputes are resolved by courts: Power accretes — slowly but inexorably — to the President. https://t.co/g1US2egdY2
— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) June 11, 2021
President Biden’s DOJ under Attorney General Merrick Garland needs to stop defending and covering up for Trump and start holding him and his officials accountable for their corrupt actions. If they won’t step up to do something, they should resign to make way for someone who will do the job they should be doing. Letting Trump get away with these abuses of power is absolutely unacceptable.
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