While the Democrats vow to investigate the subpoenas, the GOP is almost unanimous in their response: the government should investigate leaks of classified information, even if it carries members of the other political party away – as long as it is within the law. And they say that also applies to democratic presidents.
“If you leak, I don’t care what your motives are or who you are. This is what you should be identified for, whether or not you are a friend of the president, “said Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, said in an interview. “I would hope I would say the same about President Biden. If he is investigating Devin Nunes and he has reason to, then let the investigation go on. “
Republicans want the Justice Department’s internal guard to finish his job, with House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (RN.Y.) reiterating the importance of an external conclusion on “whether there was a handover”.
The Justice Department’s search to find the source of leaks related to the investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia has swept away at least three prominent figures whom the former president viewed as his political opponents, including Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff ( D-Calif.) And Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Who sits on that body. The leak detection subpoenas, first reported in the New York Times this month, sparked a firestorm as Democrats demand a testimony about whether Trump may have abused his power.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 20, 2021 Jose Luis Magana / AP Photo
“What the administration, the Justice Department, the former president’s leadership has done goes beyond Richard Nixon,” Pelosi said on CNN last week.
One of the only Republicans to join her in criticizing the Trump Department of Justice’s behavior is himself under the scrutiny of a state sex trafficking investigation.
“The DOJ has a very nasty tendency to target its critics, Republicans and Democrats,” MP Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) Said in a statement earlier this month. “I’m against all of that, no matter how much I personally don’t like Schiff.”
No GOP legislator has admitted that its data was included in the investigation.
Several, like Stewart and Cheney, made it clear that no president should use government power solely to pursue political enemies. But the lack of sympathy among Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee for the predicament of Schiff and Swalwell is reminiscent of the bitter polarization that enveloped the panel in 2017 as it investigated whether members of the Trump campaign or the candidate himself tried to to be decisive for the choice.
At that time, Republicans claim, the committee was also beginning to leak like a sieve – a trend they believe continued with the Democrats’ first impeachment investigation into Trump’s contacts with Ukraine in 2019.
Netanyahu is out and the latest round of violence with Hamas is over, but progressives’ willingness to criticize Israel will remain.
“There was literally nothing sacred in this room,” said former Florida MP Tom Rooney, who served as a senior Republican on the panel during the Russia Inquiry before retiring in 2018.
Tensions continued in 2019 when the GOP blamed Schiff for searching the phone records of California MP Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, during Trump’s first impeachment. A spokesman for the committee at the time denied that the investigators had summoned call logs for a member of Congress or a reporter.
This experience resulted in Republicans being required to investigate classified information.
“Anyone who allegedly leaks information is being investigated, whether it is law enforcement or a member of Congress. No one is above the law, ”said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), A former FBI special agent and member of the intelligence committee.
The current turmoil surrounding Trump-era subpoenas leaves many questions unanswered, including the number of people whose communications data were read, whether investigators alerted supervisors after lawmakers’ names appeared in subpoenas, and whether other companies were summoned for this information, such as part of the hunt.
Under two attorneys general, Jeff Sessions and Bill Barr, Trump’s Justice Department aggressively pursued leak investigations. Another reported target was former White House attorney Don McGahn, who provided key testimony during the Russia investigation of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Several journalists have also been targeted.
Don McGahn listens to Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. | Saul Loeb / AP Photo
The Democrats are pushing the investigation at full throttle and are calling to hear from Barr and Sessions – who both denied knowledge of these secret subpoenas – as well as from other Trump administration officials such as former Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
“These are gross abuses of Justice Department independence, and we don’t know how far they go,” Schiff said on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday. “And our new attorney general has to find out.”
And as skeptical as they are of this Democratic investigation, several Republicans admitted that Conservatives would be outraged if the situation were reversed – if the Biden administration investigated their party’s intelligence committee.
“If we use one standard for one administration and another for another – one side or the other will be upset. I think that’s probably human nature. Well, it’s certainly DC in nature, ”said Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), A member of the Intelligence Committee.
“I think there is unfortunately a politicization of the secret service committee in the House of Representatives.”
Melanie Zanona contributed to this report.