Former senior Justice Department officials are denying any involvement in the Trump administration’s subpoena of Apple records from Democratic members on the House Intelligence Committee.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-0Calif., has called for an investigation into the DOJ subpoenas which will be led by Inspector General Michael Horowitz, but one critical question for Democrats remains unanswered.
Despite their leadership at the agency, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former Attorney General Bill Barr, and former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein have all reportedly denied having any knowledge of the subpoenas.
The subpoenas for records from Apple were requested during the previous administration’s investigation into the incessant leaking of classified information.
Reports show that several committee members, their staff, and family members (including at least one minor) were targeted.
Barr, Sessions and now Rosenstein say they were unaware of the subpoenas sent under their tenure for Democratic lawmakers’ records.
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 12, 2021
Jeff Sessions would have been attorney general at the time of the request, but it is unlikely he would be involved in the subpoenas because he recused himself from anything related to the Russia probe.
Rod Rosenstein was Deputy AG at the time, and it is feasible for this request to fall under his purview. However, a source said that Rosenstein was unaware of the request, according to CNN.
Bill Barr stepped in to the attorney general role one year after the Apple subpoenas were issued and denied any knowledge of the situation.
If all of these men are telling the truth, it means that underlings at the agency were able to draft and issue the controversial subpoenas without knowledge or approval from leadership.
News of the subpoenas broke after the gag order on Apple regarding the request was not extended. Apple immediately moved to inform those affected by the subpoena.
A House Intelligence Committee staffer told CNN that the broad request allegedly seized data from staff members who were not involved in the Russia probe or the administration’s conflict with former FBI Director James Comey.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin called for Barr and Sessions to testify in a statement they released on Friday, “If they refuse, they are subject to being subpoenaed and compelled to testify under oath.”
This will not be a slam dunk investigation for Democrats, who need the support of at least one Republican on the Judiciary Committee to approve any subpoenas.
House Democrats, however, plan to issue subpoenas with or without the consent of Republican members on whether others were targeted by the Trump Justice Department, CNN reported.
Pelosi’s open criticism of the Trump administration’s investigation into widespread leaks of classified information using subpoenaed records is a complete about face from her stance under the Obama administration.
She now claims “transparency is essential”, but just eight years ago, she sided with the Obama administration after former National Security Agency official, Edward Snowden revealed that the Obama administration had conducted widespread surveillance on all Americans and America’s foreign allies.
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