Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein / Reuters
Leading Republicans are set to block a Senate investigation into Trump’s Justice Department’s secret seizure of data from Democrats to track down leaked classified information, fearing a full investigation could harm the government. ‘former president.
Trump, who faces a growing crisis of legal issues and political criticism, still wields tremendous power among Republicans and recently hinted at a return to the White House.
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In fiery remarks, Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized the expanding congressional inquiries as unnecessary and accused Democrats of engaging in “politically motivated inquiries.”
“I am confident that the ongoing investigation will uncover the truth,” McConnell said. “There is no need for a partisan circus here in Congress.”
McConnell’s forceful pushback shows concern over the Democrats’ latest aggressive move to engage in retrospective surveillance that could expose Trump for abusing the federal government’s vast power to pursue political enemies.
It also means Republicans are certain to lock the guns to block subpoenas against Trump’s Justice Department officials, including former Attorneys General Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions. Democrats need at least one Republican member for subpoenas due to the even distribution between Democrats and Republicans on the panel.
Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, suggested he would not offer such support. “Investigations of members of Congress and staff are not new, especially for classified leaks,” he said.
The Republican criticism came as Democrats stepped up investigations into the Justice Department for secretly seizing data in 2018 belonging to two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee – and some of Trump’s fiercest critics.
In the Senate, Judicial Committee Chairman Dick Durbin in a letter demanded that Attorney General Merrick Garland brief and answer a series of questions about the foreclosures by June 28. And House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said his panel will launch an investigation into “the Trump administration’s coordinated efforts to target President Trump’s political opposition” as he weighs in on Barr and Sessions .
Parallel inquiries showed Democrats’ determination to seize the momentum, even as Republicans began to rally to the opposition – for much of the same reasons that were behind their motivation to sink a 9 / style commission. 11 to examine the attack on the Capitol.
Democrats also said they would continue their investigations along with Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, whose office opened a separate investigation last week.
“I think there has to be a role of Congress to complete anything that the DoJ doesn’t return,” Congressman Eric Swalwell, one of two House Democrats whose files were reported to the Guardian, told The Guardian. seized.
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But by only asking for Garland to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee – not Barr or Sessions – Democrats have revealed the power Senate Republicans wield to obstruct measures they believe could put Trump and his base in jeopardy. anger ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
The political roadblocks put up by Senate Republicans mean that Congress’ most significant investigation into Trump’s Justice Department targeting Democrats will likely come from the House Judiciary Committee.
Due to the Democratic majority in the House, Nadler does not suffer from the same issues as his Senate colleagues and retains the ability to subpoena Barr and Sessions without the support of Republicans.
The judicial committee did not define concrete steps for their investigation. But Nadler intends to maintain the threat of subpoenas hanging over Trump’s attorneys general as he ramps up the pressure over the next few weeks, a source familiar with the matter said.
The two inquiries led by the House and Senate Democrats follow a referral from Deputy Attorney General Lisa Mascaro to the Inspector General to initiate a review, according to a senior Justice Department official.
The Inspector General’s investigation came after The New York Times reported that the Trump administration used grand jury summons to force Apple and another service provider to hand over data related to Democrats in the United States. House Intelligence Committee.
Although classified information leak investigations are routine, the use of subpoenas to extract data from accounts belonging to active members of Congress is almost unprecedented outside of corruption investigations.
Justice Department investigators had access, among other things, to the files of Adam Schiff, then the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and now its chairman; Swallow well; and family members of legislators and assistants.