Former Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) accused the Justice Department of spying on his team at a time when he was leading a congressional investigation into the FBI’s conduct during its Trump-Russia probe.
Two senior House Intelligence Committee staffers were the subject of grand jury subpoenas sent to Google seeking personal email and phone data in November 2017, according to Just The News. Nunes expressed alarm about the timing as the subpoenas were secretly issued when he was chairman of the intelligence panel and on the cusp of releasing a memo alleging misconduct in the surveillance of a Trump 2016 campaign operative.
“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 told the news outlet. “It’s an egregious abuse of power that the next Congress must investigate so these agencies can be held accountable and reformed.”
The motive for these subpoenas remains unclear; The Daily Wire reached out to the Justice Department for comment.
In terms of timing, they were issued around when secret subpoenas were sent to tech companies seeking records of Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, including then-ranking member Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), their staff, and family members, as the Trump-era Justice Department investigated leaks of classified information, The New York Times reported in June 2021. The ensuing outcry by Democrats led to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz announcing that he would look into the seizures.
The targets of the newly revealed subpoenas, who were informed by Google this week in compliance with a policy to wait five years after such law enforcement activity, included Kash Patel, a top investigator for the House Intelligence Committee who later served in multiple high-level national security positions within in the Trump administration.
“It’s so shocking,” Patel told the “Just the News, Not Noise” show Monday. “Because a co-equal branch of government, we as congressional investigators and Devin Nunes, his staff on House Intel were conducting constitutional demanded oversight of the fraudulent acts at the FBI and DOJ which we now know happened.”
What became known as the “Nunes memo” was released in February 2018 in the face of opposition from Democrats on the intelligence panel and the FBI. The memo alleged abuses by the FBI and Justice Department in seeking Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant authority to snoop on ex-Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page.
The crux of the problems cited by the Republicans was the FBI’s reliance, in part, on an unverified dossier compiled by British former spy Christopher Steele, a since-discredited document that contained salacious claims tying former President Donald Trump to Russia that benefited from funding via Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
The memo was followed by a report by Horowitz criticizing the Justice Department and the FBI for at least 17 “significant errors and omissions” related to the FISA surveillance of Page, who denied being a Russian asset and was never charged with a crime. The Justice Department also declared that at least two of the four FISA warrants targeting Page were “not valid,” as reported by The Washington Examiner.
As part of special counsel John Durham’s ongoing investigation, which was put together by former Attorney General William Barr to root out misconduct in the FBI’s Russia inquiry, former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty to falsifying a document in efforts to renew the authority to conduct FISA surveillance on Page. Clinesmith was spared prison time and faced a one-year bar suspension.
Nunes, who now leads Trump’s Truth Social endeavor, said Congress should push Durham to investigate the subpoena matter. “This is clearly in the realm of what John Durham’s scope was to look at,” he said in an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday.