The Justice Department’s internal watchdog announced on Friday that it will investigate the actions of former attorneys general Jeff Sessions and William Barr for the Trump-era seizure of phone and email records of congressional Democrats, their staff and families and journalists.
Daniel Goldman, who served as majority counsel during Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial, raised an interesting point about where that inquiry might begin. Appearing on “The 11th Hour” with Brian Williams on MSNBC, Goldman said he was “horrified” at the news of the DOJ’s leaker witch hunt under Trump.
“It’s not for a lot of the reasons others have said. I think the Department of Justice has every right, broadly, to investigate crimes,” he explained. “But knowing the people who received these subpoenas or whose records were sought through these subpoenas, I find it very hard to believe that there was any legitimate and real and credible evidence that would have led an objective prosecutor to issue these grand jury subpoenas. And that means that it was a purely political hatchet job, if that’s accurate.
“We haven’t seen what the basis was for the investigation for the subpoenas,” he continued. “Apparently, according to reports, Chairman Schiff’s office has requested that information and the Department of Justice has declined to give it to them thus far.”
This is where it gets really interesting.
“I’m somewhat suspicious of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle within the House Intelligence Committee and whether they were part and parcel of providing the telephone numbers, some of these email addresses, to the Department of Justice,” Goldman said, “because they would have had access to more of that information than just about anyone, as the majority staff for the House Intelligence Committee.”
During that time, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) chaired the House Intelligence Committee.