Has the Trump administration gone too far in pursuit of press leaks?
The US Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the Trump administration’s previous 2017 and 2018 hunt for call records and emails from journalists and members of Congress, Which became better known at the end of last week. Reports about this research echo the paranoia of President Nixon and “plumbers” looking for leaks. Also at that time, attempts were made to use the ministry as a vehicle for the power of the current president.
The Justice Department’s inspector general announced Friday that he has ordered a review of the legality of the subpoenas that forced the tech company Apple in 2017 and 2018 to transfer data from 73 phones and 36 email addresses. And US media said that it included statements from people participating in the House Intelligence Committee, including a minor.
Software giant Microsoft also announced that it received a subpoena in 2017 for email account data of an Intelligence Committee employee. Apple, which is usually very reluctant to cooperate with police investigations, has only made the purported metadata available to the judiciary, not the content of conversations, emails or photos.
Also tap on the target
Earlier, the Department of Justice, under President Biden led by Merrick Garland, revealed that the data of CNN reporters, New York times On Washington Post It was requested in a leak investigation. The survey dates back to 2017, and data from Representatives and their relatives was requested in 2018. At the time, Jeff Sessions was the attorney general and the FBI was investigating possible cooperation between President Trump’s campaign team and Russian government agencies. The press reported in detail about this.
Read also: The Trump administration also exploited the phone records of New York Times journalists
Sessions, his interim successor, Rod Rosenstein, and Trump’s last attorney general, William Barr, told the media that they were unaware of the subpoenas against Apple. Against the business newspaper The Wall Street Journal Barr said he “can’t remember the case” and that “all the steps that were taken before I became a minister.” But other sources tell US media that Barr personally ordered the New Jersey attorney general to activate the stalled leak investigation.
The topic once again draws attention to the politicization of the judiciary under the previous administration. As president, Trump has repeatedly interfered with ongoing investigations and lawsuits and lobbied for judicial investigations of dissidents. Senate Democrats called a hearing to question Sessions and Barr on the matter. It is not yet clear whether they will also get the necessary support from a single Republican senator.
Danger to Biden
A spokesman for President Biden said Friday that the search for the leaks “clearly fits in an unpleasant trend, symbolizing the reversal of how force is used.”
But the investigation could also be painful for the new president. It’s now his Department of Justice, and those subpoenas were only cleared after Apple notified its affected customers. “I hope every attorney general who was involved in this matter gets fired from the department,” said Representative Eric Swalwell, one of the intelligence committee members whose information it requested.
“Pop culture enthusiast. Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Analyst. Student. Explorer.”