Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has issued a subpoena to Attorney General Merrick Garland. This comes amidst ongoing concerns regarding the Justice Department’s use of law enforcement authority to access private communications of Congress members and their staff.
The Committee’s letter to AG Garland on Tuesday detailed a series of inquiries and responses that have led to the critical juncture. The Committee’s principal concern centers around the DOJ’s investigation into unauthorized disclosures of classified information, notably linked to the surveillance of former Trump campaign associate, Carter Page.
— House Judiciary GOP 🎄 (@JudiciaryGOP) December 19, 2023
On the DOJ’s investigative actions, the letter wrote, “It indicates that the Executive Branch used its immense law-enforcement authority to gather and search the private communications of multiple Legislative Branch employees who were conducting Constitutional oversight of the Department’s investigative actions —actions that were later found to be unlawful.”
Carter Page was an American petroleum industry consultant and a former foreign-policy adviser to Donald Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign. He gained significant media attention due to his connections with Russia and his involvement in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.
He was surveilled by the FBI, leading to broader questions about the propriety and legality of such actions.
Page has a background in finance and energy, having worked for Merrill Lynch in Moscow, where he dealt with the Russian energy company Gazprom and its investment banking operations. His work and connections in Russia eventually drew the attention of U.S. intelligence agencies, leading to surveillance during the 2016 campaign.
In 2017, he was mentioned in the Steele dossier, a controversial private intelligence report containing allegations of connections between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government. The dossier suggested that Page had met with high-level Russian officials during a trip to Moscow. However, the accuracy of the allegations has been a subject of intense scrutiny as has gone on.
Page has consistently denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crime related to the investigation into Russian interference.
The move by Jordan shows the growing tension between the legislative and executive branches. Jordan’s letter points towards a potential abuse of power by the Biden administration, encroaching upon the legislative branch’s oversight responsibilities.
The subpoena seeks to compel the DOJ to provide documents and information that have been previously requested but not fully furnished.
“The Supreme Court has recognized that Congress has a ‘broad and indispensable’ power to conduct oversight, which ‘encompasses inquiries into the administration of existing laws, studies of proposed laws, and surveys in our social, economic or political system for the purpose of enabling Congress to remedy them,'” wrote the letter.
Garland, the Attorney General of the United States, was also appointed by President Joe Biden.