On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee initiated a comprehensive investigation into the Department of Justice (DOJ). This probe was sparked by allegations that the DOJ had been conducting surveillance on congressional staffers who were involved in scrutinizing the agency itself.
In a decisive move, the committee dispatched letters to major telecommunications and technology companies, including Verizon, Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Apple, T-Mobile, and AT&T, and directly to the DOJ. These letters demanded detailed information about the DOJ’s 2017 issuance of subpoenas to these cell phone providers. The subpoenas in question sought access to the communication records of congressional staffers engaged in the oversight of the DOJ. The committee’s request was publicized through a Twitter post and set a firm deadline of November 14 for the recipients to furnish the requested information.
Republican Representative Jim Jordan from Ohio, in a conversation with Fox Business host Elizabeth MacDonald, expressed his concerns regarding the extent of the alleged surveillance. He questioned whether the spying extended beyond congressional staffers to include members of Congress themselves. Rep. Jordan drew parallels to previous incidents, referencing the established fact that President Trump’s campaign had been under surveillance, as evidenced by the activities surrounding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court, Carter Page, and George Papadopoulos.
Further intensifying the issue, Rep. Jordan highlighted the specific case of Jason Foster, a staff member of Senator Chuck Grassley, who was allegedly subjected to this spying. The overarching question posed by Jordan was whether the surveillance was more widespread than currently known.
The context for these allegations dates back to the investigation into the FBI and DOJ’s use of FISA warrants. This investigation focused on claims of surveillance targeting Donald Trump’s successful 2016 presidential campaign. These claims were initially based on the now-debunked Steele Dossier. Special Counsel John Durham, in his report released on May 15, concluded that the FBI could not substantiate the dossier’s allegations of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Rep. Jordan pointed out that this surveillance of congressional staff occurred amidst broader investigations into the DOJ and the FBI, specifically concerning the Crossfire Hurricane operation and the Trump-Russia inquiry. He mentioned that the DOJ’s surveillance was not limited to Jason Foster and Senator Grassley’s team but also extended to Devin Nunes and the House Intelligence Committee staff members.
As of the time of these revelations, the DOJ had not provided any response to the inquiries made by the Daily Caller News Foundation regarding these allegations.