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Jordan subpoenas AG Garland over DOJ spying on Congress

"If the Department’s representation is accurate, it indicates that the Executive Branch used its immense law-enforcement authority to gather and search the private communications of multiple Legislative Branch employees who were conducting Constitutional oversight of the Department’s investigative actions—actions that were later found to be unlawful," Jordan wrote.

Published: December 19, 2023 5:00pm

Updated: December 19, 2023 5:04pm

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, on Tuesday issued a subpoena to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding that he provide information on the DOJ's spying on congressional employees.

In October of this year, Just the News reported that current and former congressional oversight staff were notified that the DOJ had seize their phone and email records in 2017 while investigating leaks. The belated notification came due to the government convincing a federal court to hide the communications seizure for five years. Among those who had their records seized were at least a dozen members of Congress from both parties and/or their staff.

The revelations prompted furor from Congressional Republicans, who that same month demanded that the DOJ explain itself. In the subpoena issued Tuesday, Jordan acknowledged that the DOJ had replied to his request, albeit not to his satisfaction.

"In its letter to the Committee, the Department represented that the legal process used—which reportedly sought the private communications of both Republican and Democrat employees in both the House and the Senate—were related to one investigation 'into the unauthorized disclosure of classified information in a national media publication,'" Jordan wrote.

"According to news reports, this investigation centered on FISA warrants obtained by the Justice Department on former Trump campaign associate Carter Page. At the time, the FISA warrant on Mr. Page was the subject of robust Congressional oversight and vigorous debate in Congress," he continued. "The Justice Department Office of Inspector General later determined that the Department abused its FISA authority to surveil Mr. Page, and the Department admitted there was 'insufficient predication' for the warrant."

"If the Department’s representation is accurate, it indicates that the Executive Branch used its immense law-enforcement authority to gather and search the private communications of multiple Legislative Branch employees who were conducting Constitutional oversight of the Department’s investigative actions—actions that were later found to be unlawful," he went on. "Because the Department has not complied in full with our requests, we cannot independently determine whether the Department sought to alleviate the heightened separation-of-powers sensitivities involved or whether the Department first sought the information through other means before resorting to legal process."

"The Committee also has concerns that aspects of the Department's investigation may have been a pretext to justify piercing the Legislative Branch’s deliberative process and improperly access data from Members and staff involved in conducting oversight of the Department," Jordan concluded.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.

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