Rep. Jim Jordan Subpoenas Merrick Garland

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

James Lynch Contributor
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Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is escalating his fight with Attorney General Merrick Garland over alleged attempts to spy on congressional staffers.

Jordan subpoenaed Garland on Thursday afternoon for documents and information about the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) alleged surveillance of congressional staffers by obtaining communications from Google. (RELATED: DOJ Prosecutor Accused Of Protecting Joe And Hunter Biden Departs Her Post)


“If the Department’s representation is accurate, 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,” Jordan wrote in a letter to Garland informing him of the subpoena.

In 2017, the DOJ subpoenaed Google to obtain communications from Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley’s chief investigative counsel, Jason Foster. The DOJ obtained court orders from 2019-21 to prevent the release of the 2017 subpoena for Foster’s private communications, according to Foster’s legal group, Empower Oversight.

Foster worked for Sen. Grassley when he chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee. Republican and Democratic staffers were targeted by the DOJ’s subpoena, Empower Oversight said in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

On Oct. 19, 2023, Google notified Foster of the subpoena for his records, and Jordan proceeded to write Garland a letter demanding more information.

Jordan is resorting to a subpoena because of Garland’s failure to fully comply with his request. Garland has until Jan. 19 to comply with Jordan’s subpoena.

“Because the Department has not complied in full with our requests, we cannot independently determine whether the Department sought to alleviate the heightened separation-of-powers sensitivities involved or whether the Department first sought the information through other means before resorting to legal process,” the letter adds.

The DOJ sought the private communications as part of an investigation into disclosures related to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, the letter says.

A report by the DOJ Inspector General released in 2019 described “significant inaccuracies” used by the FBI in its applications for FISA warrants against Page.

The FBI relied on the debunked Steele Dossier to obtain the FISA warrants as part of its Crossfire Hurricane investigation of suspected connections between then-President Trump’s campaign and Russia, according to the IG report. Afterwards, the DOJ IG found additional errors made by the FBI in other applications for FISA warrants.

Foster was one of the congressional staffers investigating the DOJ’s handling of the Crossfire Hurricane inquiry.