The top two Senate Democrats on Friday called for multiple investigations into the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) decisions in 2017 and 2018 to issue subpoenas seeking metadata records of House Intelligence Committee members as the Trump administration pursued leak investigations.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (Ill.) also called for two of former President Trump’s attorneys general, William Barr and Jeff Sessions to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“The revelation that the Trump Justice Department secretly subpoenaed metadata of House Intelligence Committee Members and staff and their families, including a minor, is shocking. This is a gross abuse of power and an assault on the separation of powers,” Schumer and Durbin said in a joint statement Friday. “This appalling politicization of the Department of Justice by Donald Trump and his sycophants must be investigated immediately by both the DOJ Inspector General and Congress.”
“Former Attorneys General Barr and Sessions and other officials who were involved must testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee under oath. If they refuse, they are subject to being subpoenaed and compelled to testify under oath,” the Democratic leaders continued.
To carry out that threat, Democrats would need the support of at least one Republican given the committee’s even split between the parties.
The DOJ’s internal watchdog confirmed on Friday that it would investigate the subpoenas, as well as recently revealed ones initiated against reporters at multiple news outlets.
“The review will examine the Department’s compliance with applicable DOJ policies and procedures, and whether any such uses, or the investigations, were based upon improper considerations,” Michael Horowitz, DOJ’s inspector general, said in a statement.