The top national security official at the Department of Justice is resigning in the wake of the fallout over its subpoenas of the phone records of members of Congress and reporters during the Trump administration. John Demers, who’s been the head of DOJ’s national security division since 2018, plans to step down at the end of next week.
The resignation comes as Attorney General Merrick Garland announced an overhaul of DOJ’s procedures amid revelations that the agency seized Democratic lawmakers’ communication records and the furor over the DOJ’s efforts to secretly obtain phone records from reporters and lawmakers in leak investigations. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., had called on Demers the day before to testify publicly about what he knew about the subpoenas to Apple and Microsoft for information involving Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell.
The departure of Demers, who likely was briefed on decisions to subpoena phone records linked to reporters and members of Congress, was planned and is not related to the controversy, according to a DOJ official. Demers had been asked to stay on for a time by John Carlin, the No. 2 official in the deputy attorney general’s office, but it was always expected that he would leave during the summer.
The NYT reports that John Demers, head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, still serving until Biden's nominee is confirmed, is expected to step down at the end of next week. He is also likely to be called to testify before Congress re Trump DOJ subpoenas.
— Duty To Warn 🔉 (@duty2warn) June 14, 2021
Earlier on Monday, Garland said he planned on putting safeguards in place to prevent future abuses.
Not really earlier than expected, no — Demers’ departure date has been known for at least 3-4 weeks (or at least I heard it 3-4 weeks ago).
— Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) June 14, 2021
“Political or other improper considerations must play no role in any investigative or prosecutorial decisions,” he said. “These principles that have long been held as sacrosanct by the DOJ career workforce will be vigorously guarded on my watch, and any failure to live up to them will be met with strict accountability.”