Democrats demand that Barr and Sessions testify “under oath” after a report claims that Trump’s Justice Department seized lawmakers’ data.
Following reports that the Justice Department seized legislators’ data under the Trump administration, Democrats are asking that former Attorney General Bill Barr and Attorney General Jeff Sessions testify under oath.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Dick Durban issued a statement on Friday calling for Barr and Sessions to testify before the committee.
The statement stated, “The discovery that the Trump Justice Department covertly subpoenaed records of House Intelligence Committee Members and employees, including a juvenile, is startling.” “This is a blatant abuse of authority and a blatant violation of the separation of powers.”
If Sessions, Barr, and other officials implicated refuse to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee willingly, they will be “subpoenaed and ordered to testify under oath,” according to Schumer and Durbin.
They also demanded that the Justice Department’s inspector general and Congress conduct several inquiries.
The demands came a day after The New York Times reported that under former President Donald Trump’s presidency, federal prosecutors subpoenaed Apple for data from at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee’s accounts.
Prosecutors were said to be probing for the origin of news stories concerning Russian ties with Trump aides.
According to the New York Times, investigations began under Sessions, Trump’s first attorney general, but met a snag when data and other evidence revealed no links between the committee and the media leaks. The investigations were eventually resumed by Barr, who replaced Sessions after he was driven out of the government.
According to the New York Times, the records of at least a dozen people affiliated to the committee were stolen in 2017 and 2018, including Democratic Representative Adam Schiff’s.
Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, has also requested an investigation by the Justice Department’s internal watchdog.
“Though the Department told us in May that this inquiry was concluded, I believe more answers are needed, which is why I believe the Inspector General should look into this and other incidents that reveal a dishonest president weaponizing law enforcement,” Schiff said in a statement.
Representative Eric Swalwell said he was also told that his data had been subpoenaed and backed Schiff’s request for a probe by the inspector general.
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