Justice Department to tighten rules on seizing Congress data

Justice Department to tighten rules on seizing Congress data



WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department will tighten its rules around obtaining records from members of Congress, Attorney General Merrick Garland said, amid revelations the department under former President Donald Trump had secretly seized records from Democrats and members of the media.

“Consistent with our commitment to the rule of law,” Garland said Monday in a statement, “we must ensure that full weight is accorded to separation-of-powers concerns moving forward.”

Garland’s statement came as a Justice Department official said the top national security official, John Demers, planned to leave by the end of next week. Demers, who was sworn in a few weeks after the subpoena for the Democrats’ records, is one of the few Trump appointees who has remained in the Biden administration.

The Justice Department is struggling to contain the fallout over revelations that it had confiscated phone data from House Democrats and reporters as part of an aggressive investigation into leaks. The disclosure is also forcing Biden administration officials to wade back into a fight with their predecessors — something they've wished to avoid.

News outlets reported last week that the Justice Department had secretly subpoenaed Cupertino, California-based Apple Inc. in 2018 for metadata from two Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee — California Rep. Adam Schiff and California Rep. Eric Swalwell — as their committee was investigating Trump’s ties to Russia. Schiff, at the time, was the top Democrat on the panel, which was led by Republicans.

Now the House Intelligence Committee Chair, Schiff said Monday that he had spoken with Garland, who had given his commitment to an independent investigation by the inspector general. Schiff said he had “every confidence” that Garland...

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