Top Democrats threaten to subpoena Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions over new bombshell: 'A gross abuse of power'

Top Democrats threaten to subpoena Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions over new bombshell: 'A gross abuse of power'
Bill Barr C-SPAN

Top Democratic lawmakers are calling for former U.S. Attorneys General Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions to testify over new revelations about the U.S. Department of Justice's targeting of Democratic lawmakers.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Friday released a joint statement in response to the reports about the Department of Justice's actions under the Trump administration.

"The revelation that the Trump Justice Department secretly subpoenaed metadata of House Intelligence Committee Members and staff and their families, including a minor, is shocking. This is a gross abuse of power and an assault on the separation of powers," Schumer and Durbin said in their statement. "This appalling politicization of the Department of Justice by Donald Trump and his sycophants must be investigated immediately by both the DOJ Inspector General and Congress."

They added, "This issue should not be partisan; under the Constitution, Congress is a coequal branch of government and must be protected from an overreaching executive, and we expect that our Republican colleagues will join us in getting to the bottom of this serious matter."

They said they're prepared to subpoena the former officials if they refuse to testify voluntarily.

The Democratic lawmakers' demands come amid heightened criticism of the Justice Department's aggressive investigative strategies and seemingly biased seizures. The abuse of power exhibited under the Trump administration has also raised concerns about long-term damage the Justice Department underwent during the Trump era.

According to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a prominent critic of the former president who led the first impeachment, was one of the lawmakers targeted amid the Justice Department's seizure of his personal phone records. He said it could take the department nearly a decade to recover from the abuses.

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