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Tag: subpoenas

Biden Supports DOJ Prosecuting Trump Allies Who Defy Subpoena to Testify

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling

President Biden said he supports prosecuting Trump allies and officials who defy subpoenas to testify before the House Select Committee that is investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. 

“I hope the committee goes after them and holds them accountable,” Biden told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on Friday.

Asked if he supports prosecution for those people, Biden responded, “I do, yes.”

Committee leaders said they were taking steps to hold Steve Bannon, a Trump ally and former administration officials, in contempt, for refusing to comply with a subpoena. 

Ultimately, the decision belongs to the Justice Department, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said when asked about it Thursday. 

“That would be up to the Department of Justice, and it would be their purview to determine. They’re an independent agency,” she told reporters at a White House press briefing on October 8. “They’re independent. They would determine any decision on criminal prosecutions. I’d point you to them and, of course, the committee.”

The Justice Department hasn’t said yet what it plans to do. 

“The Department of Justice will make its own independent decisions in all prosecutions based solely on the facts and the law. Period. Full stop,” DOJ spokesman Anthony Coley said Friday. 

Trump’s DOJ Secret Subpoenaed House Committee Democrats During Leak Probe

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling

A Justice Department investigation into leaked classified information led prosecutors to secretly subpoena Apple for data from two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, as well as their aides and family members. 

The New York Times, which broke news of the subpoenas on Thursday, said records were sought from at least two dozen people tied to the committee, including U.S. Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, from 2017 and early 2018. 

Prosecutors were trying to uncover the sources behind media reports related to contacts between Trump associates and Russia. 

In the end, the investigators found no evidence that anyone involved with the committee was behind the leaks. 

The subpoenas included a gag order that prevented Apple from alerting the lawmakers about the investigation. 

The news comes after it was recently discovered that Trump’s Justice Department also secured subpoenas for reporters’ records as prosecutors investigated the leak. 

“Notwithstanding whether there was sufficient predication for the leak investigation itself, including family members and minor children strikes me as extremely aggressive,” said David Laufman, a former Justice Department official who worked on leak investigations. “In combination with former President Trump’s unmistakable vendetta against Congressman Schiff, it raises serious questions about whether the manner in which this investigation was conducted was influenced by political considerations rather than purely legal ones.”

Senate Judiciary Committee to Subpoena 2 FBI Officials Over Comey’s Firing

Sen. Chuck Grassley

Sen. Chuck Grassley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Senate Judiciary Committee is preparing for a showdown with the Justice Department after it prevented two senior FBI officials from testifying on Capitol Hill about President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

The Senate legal counsel plans to subpoena the senior FBI officials – Carl Ghattas and James Rybicki – to force their testimony about Comey’s firing, CNN reports

The Justice Department last week said it was preventing the FBI officials from appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee because of the DOJ’s “long-standing policy regarding the confidentiality and sensitivity of information relating to pending matters.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., aren’t backing down.

“We’ve got subpoenas at the Senate counsel office,” Grassley told CNN Wednesday, referring to the Senate office that would draft the subpoenas. “When we get done there, I’m gonna have to consult with Sen. Feinstein.”

FBI: Grand Jury Subpoenas Were Issued in Hillary Clinton Email Investigation Last Year

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors investigating Hillary Clinton’s email server issued grand jury subpoenas in the case, according to a court filing this week, Politico reports. 

It previously wasn’t known that the FBI had sought grand jury subpoenas, which indicates authorities were investigating a crime.

The subpoenas were used in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain achieved copies of some of Clinton’s old email messages, according to a filing in a civil lawsuit.  

“The FBI…obtained grand jury subpoenas related to the Blackberry e-mail accounts, which produced no responsive materials, as the requested data was outside the retention time utilized by those providers,” FBI Assistant Director for the Counterintelligence Division E.W. Priestap wrote in a declaration filed Monday in federal court in Washington.

Details of the subpoenas were unclear, but it appears AT&T and Cingular were targeted.

Politico wrote:

While most investigative work in the probe was done via voluntary interviews and provision of evidence, prosecutors and the FBI eventually turned to mandatory process again when the investigation was reactivated weeks before the presidential election. A search warrant was obtained in late October to review copies of additional email messages discovered on a laptop seized from former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin. The warrant required the FBI to indicate probable cause that the laptop contained evidence of a crime or some sort of contraband.

Priestap’s declaration was filed in connection with lawsuits conservative watchdog groups Judicial Watch and Cause of Action Institute filed against former Secretary of State John Kerry and Archivist of the U.S. David Ferriero in an effort to force the government to take additional steps to try to recover Clinton’s work-related messages. Tens of thousands of those messages have been retrieved and have already been made public by the State Department.

The government’s new court filing, including Priestap’s statement, sought to establish that there is nothing practical officials can do at this point to try to recover more of Clinton’s messages.

However, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said he’s puzzled that the FBI revealed the grand jury action at this juncture.

AG Eric Holder Expands Protections for Media, Sets New Standards

Eric Holder

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Prosecutors will have a more difficult time receiving subpoenas or search warrants for reporters under new protections for journalists announced Wednesday by Attorney General Eric Holder. 

McClatchy reports that prosecutors will be required to meet with the department’s Policy and Statutory Enforcement Unit before seeking court permission to take actions against members of the media working on “newsgathering activities.”

The protections include removing the word “ordinary” from the phrase “newsgathering activities.”

“These revised guidelines strike an appropriate balance between law enforcement’s need to protect the American people, and the news media’s role in ensuring the free flow of information,” Holder said.

Members of the media applauded the move.

“We are pleased that the new guidelines protect ‘newsgathering activities’ without qualification whenever the government seeks information related to a journalist’s work reporting and disseminating the news,” declared Bruce D. Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.