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Jim Jordan Subpoenas Merrick Garland Over Surveillance of Congressional Staff

House Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has issued a subpoena for Attorney General Merrick Garland, demanding that he hand over all documents related to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) surveillance of congressional staff during the Trump Administration.

According to The Hill, the subpoena is an official action from the committee following an initial request from Jordan regarding a 2017 subpoena to Google from the DOJ, which was demanding information on a former staffer for the Senate Judiciary Committee, alongside other staffers.

That former Judiciary Committee staffer is Jason Foster, who served as an investigative counsel for the committee under Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). Foster recently revealed that his congressional communications were demanded by the DOJ in the early days of the Trump Administration, with the DOJ insisting that such communications were relevant to allegations of “collusion” between President Trump and Russia.

Jordan wrote a letter to Garland, saying 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.”

Earlier this month, the DOJ sent a letter to Jordan claiming that Foster’s communications were only pursued as part of an investigation into a leaking of classified information, which the agency claimed “was initiated after a referral for criminal investigation was made to the National Security Division by a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community.” The letter also claimed that the DOJ had to first come to Congress for information that was protected by the Speech and Debate Clause.

In the end, there was a single conviction out of the DOJ’s investigation, when James Wolfe, the director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. He was sentenced to just two months in prison. Since then, the DOJ has attempted to implement new policies regarding any future subpoenas of members of Congress, including their staff and correspondence between congressional staff and reporters.

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images