It has come to light that DoJ prosecutors convened a grand jury and got subpoenas with which to investigate then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R) and a number of Republican Committee staffers during Nunes’ Committee investigations into what are now known to be Progressive-Democratic Party collusion with DoJ to create a false narrative of Republican collusion with Russia.
“The FBI and DOJ spied on a presidential campaign, and when Congress began exposing what they were doing, they spied on us to find out what we knew and how we knew it,” Nunes said. “It’s an egregious abuse of power that the next Congress must investigate so these agencies can be held accountable and reformed.”
The subpoenas demanded a broad swath of records from Google, including “all customer and subscriber account information” for [then-Committee Senior Counsel Kash] Patel and the other staffer, “addresses (including mailing addresses, residential addresses, business addresses, and e-mail addresses,” user names, “screen names,” “local and long distance telephone connection records,” and even the “means and source of payment for such service (including any credit card or bank account number) and billing records.”
That’s bad enough, but I’m especially concerned about another, closely related matter. Retired FBI Assistant Director for Intelligence, Kevin Brock:
A federal grand jury subpoena for records can only be issued after some type of criminal investigation has been opened. So whoever sought the subpoena will have to be prepared to articulate why they thought these staffers broke the law. And it better be a substantial violation, something more than just a media leak investigation for example, otherwise it will risk being perceived as a gross misuse of the grand jury process to intimidate or chill a congressional committee demanding pointed answers from DOJ.
The larger question in my view—especially if the subpoenas were issued on an allegation of a chump change crime—is who were the judges, if any, who played along and approved the grand jury subpoenas, what were their rationales for their approvals? Also, who were the prosecutors convening the grand jury? It’s possible they came from the DC US Attorney’s Office, but who in particular?