During the failed investigation into so-called collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and the Russian government, the Department of Justice (DOJ) used grand jury subpoenas to secretly obtain communications between staffers working for Republican members of the House of Representatives.
The New York Post reports that the first such demands came in November of 2017, when the DOJ ordered search engine giant Google to hand over information on two senior staffers for the House Intelligence Committee, which at the time was led by Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). The material was ultimately delivered to the DOJ by Google on December 5th.
The information that Google was required to hand over, according to Just The News, included “all customer and subscriber account information,” “addresses (including mailing addresses, residential addresses, business addresses, and e-mail addresses,” user names, “screen names,” “local and long distance telephone connection records” and the “means and source of payment for such service (including any credit card or bank account number) and billing records.”
At the time, Nunes and the Committee were investigating the methods that the FBI had used to illegally spy on the Trump campaign. He had also requested that both the FBI and DOJ turn over any information relevant to the now-debunked dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, which had been paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and had largely fueled the FBI’s investigation despite none of its claims being true.
The grand jury subpoenas were made public recently as a result of Google’s policy to wait for five years before informing users that their records were sought by law enforcement.
In a statement, Nunes’ former senior counsel Kash Patel declared that “the two-tier system of justice was alive in 2017 – this time spying on Capitol Hill staffers.”
“The DOJ and FBI subpoenaed my personal records while I was Chief Counsel uncovering their corruption in Russia gate, and they used a Grand Jury to obtain it. Every member of Congress and every Capitol Hill staffer should be demanding investigations,” Patel continued. “Using law enforcement to execute political vendettas is a destruction of our Constitution, and it was brought to you by those charged with its ultimate protection – [Rod] Rosenstein and [Christopher] Wray.”
The subpoenas came amidst Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation into whether any such “collusion” occurred between President Trump and Russia. After an over two-year investigation, Mueller’s team concluded that there was ultimately no collusion, and exonerated President Trump on any possible charges.