Legal experts blasted the Trump-era Department of Justice after a bombshell report on the department spying on Democrats in Congress.
"As the Justice Department investigated who was behind leaks of classified information early in the Trump administration, it took a highly unusual step: Prosecutors subpoenaed Apple for data from the accounts of at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, aides and family members. One was a minor," The New York Times reported Thursday. "All told, the records of at least a dozen people tied to the committee were seized in 2017 and early 2018, including those of Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, then the panel's top Democrat and now its chairman, according to committee officials and two other people briefed on the inquiry."
"Prosecutors, under the beleaguered attorney general, Jeff Sessions, were hunting for the sources behind news media reports about contacts between Trump associates and Russia. Ultimately, the data and other evidence did not tie the committee to the leaks, and investigators debated whether they had hit a dead end and some even discussed closing the inquiry," the newspaper reported. "But William P. Barr revived languishing leak investigations after he became attorney general a year later. He moved a trusted prosecutor from New Jersey with little relevant experience to the main Justice Department to work on the Schiff-related case and about a half-dozen others, according to three people with knowledge of his work who did not want to be identified discussing federal investigations."
Legal experts were shocked by the scandal. Here's some of what they were saying:
Lawyer Ted Boustrous:
Former Attorney General William Barr was truly out of control. https://t.co/3ylF324zat— Ted Boutrous (@Ted Boutrous) 1623373484.0
It’s important to remember that, when the Justice Department hunts for and tries to criminally prosecute people who… https://t.co/XS8E7bI2YC— Ted Boutrous (@Ted Boutrous) 1623378122.0
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce White:
Actually, that’s not the worst thing. The worst thing is that it was the WH that demanded investigation (Barr picke… https://t.co/YUAyZgGLbb— Joyce Alene (@Joyce Alene) 1623371507.0
Former federal prosecutor Katie Phang:
Barr’s DOJ = Trump’s Secret Police https://t.co/DSVPs64R5J— Katie S. Phang (@Katie S. Phang) 1623371652.0
Former House Judiciary Committee special counsel Norm Eisen:
This is batsh*t crazy. Yet predictable. At 9pm ET joining @cnn @CuomoPrimeTime @ChrisCuomo to discuss what it… https://t.co/yqcUwIuO0d— Norm Eisen (@Norm Eisen) 1623372924.0
Former DOJ spokesperson Matt Miller:
First Comey, now Schiff. Clear that leak investigations are the way DOJ officials decided they could answer Trump’s… https://t.co/Ds8r1v80AS— Matthew Miller (@Matthew Miller) 1623374375.0
DOJ does need to answer these questions, but I'm not sure how they could possibly do so now. If you're in the new D… https://t.co/ptLq2MPXSu— Matthew Miller (@Matthew Miller) 1623375359.0
University of Texas Law Prof. Steve Vladeck:
IOW, the separation of powers constrains Congress’s ability to investigate the President but not the President’s ab… https://t.co/G6l0L31d8O— Steve Vladeck (@Steve Vladeck) 1623371724.0
Former federal prosecutor Shanlon Wu:
More than 2000 former DOJ officials - including me - called for AG Barr to resign - time will show how right we wer… https://t.co/vv9s6nzmXW— Shanlon Wu (@Shanlon Wu) 1623377921.0
Former federal prosecutor Elie Honig:
One particularly disturbing aspect of this case, and the media subpoena cases: gag orders that expired only now, mo… https://t.co/5KmNCrIXEu— Elie Honig (@Elie Honig) 1623372442.0