Justice department watchdog launches inquiry into seizure of Democrats’ data – live | US
Democratic California congressman Adam Schiff, who was the top Democrat of the House intelligence committee during the Russia investigation and one of the Democrats whose data records were seized by the Justice Department under Donald Trump in 2018, applauded the department’s inspector general investigation, but said more still needs to be done. “This incident must be viewed in the context of the systemic politicization of the department, and other flagrant abuses,” he said in a statement.
The justice department will double the number of lawyers working on enforcing protections for the right to vote in the next 30 days, the attorney general, Merrick Garland, announced on Friday.
The announcement came as Republicans have launched an unprecedented effort to restrict voting access across the US. Under Donald Trump, the justice department did not file a single major case aimed at protecting voting rights. Many civil rights groups are closely watching to see how the department, which has unmatched resources and enforcement authority, will wield its power under Biden.
Garland also expressed concern about post-election reviews of ballots, a growing interest among Republican lawmakers, as well as escalating threats against election officials. The former appellate judge also condemned the supreme court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v Holder, which gutted a core protection of the Voting Rights Act and, making it harder for the justice department to protect voting rights.
“Since that opinion, there has been a dramatic rise in legislative efforts that will make it harder for millions of citizens to cast a ballot that counts. So far this year, at least 14 states have passed new laws that make it harder to vote,” he said. “And some jurisdictions, based on disinformation, have utilized abnormal post-election audit methodologies that may put the integrity of the voting process at risk and undermine public confidence in our democracy.”
Garland also called for the passage of the For the People Act, a sweeping voting rights package, that has stalled in the US Senate in recent days as some Democrats express concerns about the bill. He also called on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore the pre-clearance provision in the Voting Rights Act the supreme court struck down in 2013.
Now knowing what we know of the Justice Department under Donald Trump seizing the data of at least two House Democrats, this clip of Vice-President Kamala Harris grilling former attorney general William Barr is now making the rounds on the interwebs.
The justice department’s internal watchdog announced on Friday that it was launching an investigation after the New York Times broke the news last night that the department under Donald Trump had subpoenaed Apple for data from the accounts of Democratic members of the House intelligence committee, Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz said that he would look into “whether any such uses, or the investigations, were based upon improper considerations.”
Schiff and Swalwell said they were notified last month that their metadata had been subpoenaed and turned over to the Justice Department in 2018, as their committee was investigating the former president’s ties to Russia.
In addition to Schiff and Swalwell, prosecutors retrieved the records of aides, former aides and family members, including one minor.
Schiff said the seizures suggested “the weaponization of law enforcement by a corrupt president.” Senate Democratic leaders immediately demanded that former attorneys general William Barr and Jeff Sessions, who both oversaw Trump’s leak probes, testify about the secret subpoenas, with senate majority leader Chuck Schumer and senate judiciary committee chairman Dick Durbin saying that “this appalling politicization of the Department of Justice by Donald Trump and his sycophants” must be investigated.
The US justice department will prosecute threats against election officials and aggressively scrutinize new state election laws to ensure they do not violate citizens’ voting rights, the attorney general Merrick Garland said today.
The pledge followed a special report by the Reuters news wire earlier about an ongoing problem of vicious threats by fanatical supporters of Donald Trump, against senior election officials in several states, especially in Georgia.
The justice department has asked for an internal investigation into the Trump-era seizure of phone data from House Democrats in 2018, the Associated Press is reporting.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco asked the department’s inspector general to open the investigation on Friday, a senior Justice Department official told the AP, after Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, and Senate judiciary committee chair, Dick Durbin demanded that Trump-era attorneys general William Barr and Jeff Sessions testify about the seizures.
The New York Times broke the news last night that amid the Russian investigation, the justice department under Donald Trump had subpoenaed Apple for data from the accounts of Adam Schiff, then the top Democrat on the committee, and California Democratic congressman Eric Swalwell. Adam Schiff, then the top Democrat on the committee, and the California Democratic congressman Eric Swalwell, In addition, prosecutors subpoenaed records from aides, former aides and family members, including one who was a minor.
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