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Congress to Investigate Justice Department’s Spying on Lawmakers & Journalists

Congress to Investigate Justice Department’s Spying on Lawmakers & Journalists

The House Judiciary Committee announced on Monday that it will launch an investigation into the Department of Justice’s secret surveillance program of journalists and politico foes of former President Donald Trump under the guise of identifying supposed leaks.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“Recent reports suggest that, during the Trump Administration, the Department of Justice used criminal investigations as a pretext to spy on President Trump’s perceived political enemies,” Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the Committee chairman, said in a statement.

“It remains possible that these cases—which now include Members of Congress, members of the press, and President Trump’s own White House Counsel—are isolated incidents.  Even if these reports are completely unrelated, they raise serious constitutional and separation of power concerns.  Congress must make it extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, for the Department to spy on the Congress or the news media.  We should make it hard for prosecutors to hide behind secret gag orders for years at a time.  We cannot rely on the Department alone to make these changes,” Nadler said, noting that what is currently known may only be the tip of a massive illegal iceberg. “If so, we must learn the full extent of this gross abuse of power, root out the individuals responsible, and hold those individuals accountable for their actions.”

Nadler wished Attorney General Merrick Garland success in rooting out the origins of the years-long clandestine operation. He stressed, however, that getting to the bottom of the matter as quickly as possible is imminently critical to preserving the rule of law and democracy.

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“We cannot wait for the Inspector General to share even his preliminary findings with DOJ, some months or years from now, before Congress contemplates a response,” the chairman cautioned. “Accordingly, the House Judiciary Committee will investigate the Trump Administration’s surveillance of Members of Congress, the news media, and others.  I have instructed my staff to begin that work without delay.”

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