Leak inquiry shakes up Justice Department

Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions held his position from February 2017 to November 2018, when Justice Department officials reportedly accessed records of members of Congress, journalists and a White House lawyer.
Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions held his position from February 2017 to November 2018, when Justice Department officials reportedly accessed records of members of Congress, journalists and a White House lawyer.

Federal law enforcement agents secretly seized records from Democrats, members of the media, and a White House lawyer as part of a leak investigation during the Trump administration.

The Justice Department’s top national security official, John Demers, is one of the few Trump appointees to stay on under the Biden administration. In the wake of the revelations, he announced his upcoming resignation to staff on Monday.

Whom did the leak investigation target? News emerged last week that the Justice Department had secretly subpoenaed Apple for metadata from House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and another Democratic member in 2018 as the committee carried out its Russia inquiry.

The department also subpoenaed the personal data of former White House counsel Don McGahn and reporters from The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and CNN.

Apple was under a gag order for three years and only recently informed the affected persons. Former Attorneys General Jeff Sessions and William Barr have denied knowledge of the DOJ actions. 

On Friday Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general, announced he would initiate a review of the matter. On Monday Attorney General Merrick Garland expressed his “full confidence” in Horowitz to conduct a thorough, independent investigation. 

— with reporting by J.C. Derrick

This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2021, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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