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Monday, 27 September 2021

U.S. DOJ to review how it obtains lawmaker records

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U.S. DOJ to review how it obtains lawmaker records
U.S. DOJ to review how it obtains lawmaker records

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland directed the department to evaluate how it obtains records from Congress in light of revelations that the previous administration had used secret subpoenas to collect Democratic lawmakers' communications.

This report produced by Zachary Goelman.

The U.S. Justice Department is rethinking the way it obtains records from lawmakers.

The change comes after revelations that the department under former President Donald Trump had secretly collected communication info belonging to some members of Congress.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday said in a statement he had instructed Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco "to evaluate and strengthen the department's existing policies and procedures for obtaining records of the Legislative branch." The Trump administration secretly subpoenaed phone records from two of its top critics, Democratic Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, as part of a probe into leaks of classified information.

The Justice Department under former attorneys general William Barr and Jeff Sessions was regularly accused of putting Trump's personal and political interests ahead of the law.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, both Democrats, on Sunday vowed to investigate the "rogue" actions of the Justice Department under Trump.

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz last week said he was launching a review of the department's use of subpoenas to obtain the communication records of lawmakers and journalists.

Horowitz's office said the probe would including whether "improper considerations" drove those decisions.