Barr and Sessions “Must Testify” on the Trump Administration’s Secret Probe of Democrats

Democratic leaders say they’ll subpoena ex-Trump officials if they refuse.

Shane T. Mccoy/ZUMA

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Top Democrats on Friday demanded that two former Trump attorneys general, Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions, testify before the Senate Judiciary committee following reports that Trump’s Justice Department secretly seized communication records of Democratic lawmakers and their family members—including one minor—in order to uncover the source of leaks regarding the Trump-Russia investigation.

“This is a gross abuse of power and an assault on the separation of powers,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Judiciary Committee chair Dick Durbin said in a joint statement. “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.”

The statement comes after the New York Times described on Thursday how Trump’s DOJ launched secret probes targeting at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence committee, Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, subpoenaing Apple for data documenting their phone communications. Ultimately, the probes failed to turn up any evidence tracing the leaks to the committee. The revelation not only illustrates Trump’s obsession with leaks, but provides yet another instance of how Trump weaponized the Justice Department against his perceived political enemies, 

Schumer and Durbin said that they would issue subpoenas if Barr, Sessions, and other officials linked to the investigations refuse to testify, adding that they hoped Republican lawmakers would join their calls. None yet have.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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