Trump-appointee John Demers, the head of the Dept. of Justice's National Security Division and one of the officials who was involved in the spying on Democratic lawmakers in Congress is expected to step down at the end of next week.
The New York Times reports "prosecutors supervised by Mr. Demers seized the records of reporters from The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN and of top House Democrats while investigating leaks of classified information. The department's inspector general announced an investigation on Friday into the matter."
But the Times makes clear spying on Democratic lawmakers, at least two, plus their staffs, family members, and even a minor child – or at least the gag order on that spying – required sign-off by the Attorney General.
"While it is common for the Justice Department to try to find out who shared classified information with the media, it is highly unusual to secretly gather records from the press and lawmakers. The prosecutors also prevented the lawyers and executives of The Times and CNN from disclosing that records had been taken, even to their newsroom leaders, another highly aggressive step," the Times notes.
"Such moves require signoff by the attorney general. But Mr. Demers and his top counterintelligence deputies in the division would typically be briefed and updated on those efforts."
Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has demanded Demers, whose official title is Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division, testify.
The Times claims that Demers' departure "was arranged months ago but now comes amid widespread backlash over investigations into leaks of classified information that began under the Trump administration."
This is a breaking news and developing story.
'Disgusting': Mitch McConnell ignites an enraged backlash after bragging about rigging the Supreme Court
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell again boasted that he blocked former president Barack Obama from fulfilling his constitutional obligation to fill the late Antonin Scalia's seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Kentucky Republican has previously crowed about refusing to hear the nomination of Merrick Garland and holding the seat open for nearly a year, until Donald Trump could nominate a conservative after his 2016 election.
"[It's] the single most consequential thing I've done in my time as majority leader of the Senate," McConnell told conservative broadcaster Hugh Hewitt on Monday.
The comment drew a strong reaction.
@johnkruzel @jordainc We’re living through an endless cycle of republican abuse of power and obstruction of justice… https://t.co/WeicaLisYH— Luke Zaleski (@Luke Zaleski) 1623680616.0
@mkraju He's saying, "Yes, I'm disgusting and darn proud of it." What a worm.— Denise O'Berry (@Denise O'Berry) 1623678743.0
@mkraju @LeaderMcConnell, beg to differ, "the single most consequential thing" you've done "as majority leader of t… https://t.co/L0yUpO8QwJ— Louis R. Bridgeman (@Louis R. Bridgeman) 1623679126.0
So much for bipartisanship. Dems, wake up. Moscow Mitch and the tyrannical GOP will not work with you https://t.co/TkLOZ8B32o— Harry J. Schiffman (@Harry J. Schiffman) 1623682537.0
@mkraju he's right. ending this democracy was absolutely the single most consequential thing he has done. (it also… https://t.co/GTLvbgRjNk— Tzippy Shmilovitz 🤦♀️ (@Tzippy Shmilovitz 🤦♀️) 1623679656.0
@mkraju He's correct, and it was a disgrace, a distortion of how the system should function. He knew it, and so di… https://t.co/uzgz2dTgD7— Syncopated Politics (@Syncopated Politics) 1623679320.0
@mkraju "I was the biggest asshole EVER, and they let me get away with it"...— Paul Rabin (@Paul Rabin) 1623678786.0
@mkraju He’s not wrong. I’m pretty sure he finally broke the Senate as a functioning body by doing that. It was consequential.— sblawyer (@sblawyer) 1623678857.0
@mkraju Exactly-- that is where the end of our American democracy began -- when one man (McConnell) selfishly put h… https://t.co/Ncl3oXbDq0— RJ (@RJ) 1623681171.0
@mkraju He brags about that all the fucking time. When Republicans throw out Senate norms in their advantage they a… https://t.co/TumKqRQk2d— Goin 90 I ain't scary (@Goin 90 I ain't scary) 1623679074.0
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Monday insisted that he would block Democrats from appointing another Supreme Court justice if he can take back control of the Senate in 2022.
During an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, McConnell was asked about his earlier machinations that prevented Merrick Garland from joining the high court.
"The court and the Constitution would be in quicksand up to its neck if you had not taken the position you took five years ago and we do not have the court that we do today, where we're looking forward and not in fear at decisions this year and next," Hewitt told the Senate minority leader.
"I do think the issue you raised is the single most consequential thing that I've done in my time as majority leader in the Senate," McConnell explained.
"Would the rule that you applied in 2016 to the Scalia vacancy apply in 2024 to any vacancy that occurred?" Hewitt wondered.
"Well, I think if in the middle of a presidential election, you have a Senate of the opposite party of the president, you have to go back to the 1880s to the last time a vacancy was filled," McConnell said. "I think it's highly unlikely -- in fact, no, I don't think either party if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election."
McConnell went on to defend his decision to hold hearings for Amy Coney Barrett's nomination in 2020.
"We were of the same party as the president," he noted. "That's why we went ahead with it."
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