But Quigley said he long “had expected that eventually, someone would attempt this – I just wasn’t sure if it would be a hostile government or my own.”
“The stakes were so high,” said Quigley, referring to the committee’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He accused Trump of repeatedly using the Justice Department for his own political ends.
The Times report sent shockwaves across Capitol Hill and beyond. Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said “Donald Trump’s efforts to surveil Adam Schiff as part of a political vendetta is both a direct attack on the separation of powers and congressional independence.”
The Justice Department declined to comment on Thursday night.
Last weekend, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that “the issuing of subpoenas for the records of reporters in leak investigations is not consistent with the president’s policy direction to the department, and the Department of Justice has reconfirmed it will not be used moving forward.”
Her statement came after three news organizations have said that the Trump Justice Department had seized or tried to seize phone and other records of their journalists.
Last week, the New York Times said records of four reporters had been secretly sought, and that the investigation had continued into the Biden administration.
In May, CNN reported the Justice Department had secretly obtained phone and email records its Pentagon correspondent from June and July of 2017. The report did not say why the department wanted the records, when the investigation was opened, or who was attorney general when that decision was made.
In April, The Washington Post reported the department got telephone records and attempted to get the email records of three of its reporters who were looking into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
President Joe Biden told reporters at a press conference on May 21 that it was “simply, simply wrong” for the Justice Department to obtain the telephone and email records of journalists, and “I will not let that happen.”©2021 Bloomberg L.P. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC