Adam Schiff: DOJ must ‘clean house’ after Trump caught spying on Democrats

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) on Thursday called upon Attorney General Merrick Garland to "clean house" at the Department of Justice after a bombshell report on the Trump administration spying on Democrats.

"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."

Schiff was interviewed about the scandal by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.

"In terms of getting to the bottom of this, do you expect Merrick Garland to publicly testify about this, to make Justice Department officials who were involved in this testify?" Maddow asked. "Do you want Congress to exercise its oversight responsibilities here, or do you want this just handled quietly by the inspector general on the I.G.'s own terms?"

"Well, look, i think Congress has certainly had a role here. Merrick Garland will testify before different committees in Congress, I'm sure he will be asked about these actions by the department, actions in going after members of Congress with baseless subpoenas, actions in going after reporters the way that they have, the gag orders that were issued," Schiff said. "

"But also as you point out, the intervention of the attorney general apparently in this investigation involving our committee but also to reduce the sentence of Roger Stone, someone who committed perjury, lying to cover up for the president. The dismissal of the case against Michael Flynn, another person convicted or pled guilty twice to lying to federal authorities, so I think that the attorney general has an obligation to clean house, to essentially understand exactly what the department was doing over the last four years, make sure there's accountability for those that were engaged in political and partisan investigations within the department and, you know, in terms of the oversight by Congress, I don't think I have a role in that given that some of my records were apparently the subject of a subpoena. But I think other committees, as part of their oversight responsibilities, ought to ask the attorney general and others and I do think the department needs to do a wholesale review of the politicization of these cases over the last four years."


Adam Schiff