Politico/Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) morning email thingie begins with news of the 4th Reich spying on: 1) the press, B) Congress and iii) itself (WH Counsel Don McGahn)…(emphasis theirs):
If reports that DONALD TRUMP’S Justice Department surreptitiously seized the data of reporters and politicians in a bid to root out leaks didn’t make your head explode, the latest from the NYT certainly will. Michael Schmidt and Charlie Savage reported Sunday night that Justice sought information from Apple on an account belonging to Trump’s own White House counsel, DON MCGAHN.
Here’s what congressional sources closely following this ongoing story were saying Sunday night:
— Nobody thinks these are isolated incidents. Clearly someone at Justice was targeting Trump’s perceived enemies, perhaps in a bid to crack down on leaks or for some other reason. Former A.G. BILL BARR and former Deputy A.G. ROD ROSENSTEIN have both denied they were aware of the activity on lawmakers, and it’s unclear who at DOJ was.
I personally find that impossible to believe. I would expect a world-class crook like Bill ‘Iran-Contra’ Barr would be fully aware of what his DOJ was doing to undermine democracy, if for no other reason than to get head pats from Hair Füror.
We’re told A.G. MERRICK GARLAND is trying to quickly figure out what happened, but his department isn’t fully staffed up, complicating his efforts.
— We haven’t seen the last of this. Think about it this way: We’re just now learning about these secret requests for data that were made about three years ago because the gag orders on the tech companies, after having been renewed annually, just expired. That puts us in early 2018. So it’s not unreasonable to ask: Who else did they request information about in the last three years of Trump’s presidency that we don’t yet know about? Democrats expect many more names to surface.
— Lawmakers want answers yesterday. While DOJ inspector general MICHAEL HOROWITZ has indicated he will open an investigation into the matter, lawmakers expect his probe will take a while and they’re not keen on waiting. The pressure is on Garland to do something quickly and to share results with members of Congress. In a statement last week, House Judiciary Chair JERRY NADLER (D-N.Y.) said he would give the department a “very short window to make a clean break from the Trump era on this matter” and “provide a full accounting of these cases.”
— Garland meets the press. Today the AG will meet with leaders of the NYT, WaPo and CNN to discuss the issue as it relates to journalists’ information being seized, per the NYT.
This is a story that is not going to go away quickly, all the spied-upon parties are not going to let go, as much as the Coup Klux Klan will try to sweep this one under the rug.
I’m seeing Watergate comparisons all over the place this morning and while having an apparent enemies list is very keeping in that tradition, but acting on it is definitely a bigger step than Nixon took.
Pro tip: I’m going to keep an eye on Marcie Wheeler; this is her, uh, wheelhouse. You should too, if this new scandal is your jam.