GOP senators demand DOJ give answers after it allegedly spied on House, Senate staffers during Russia probe
Republican Senators are calling for investigations into whether the Department of Justice spied on congressional staffers during its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has asked Attorney General William Barr to appear before the committee to explain the steps taken during the Russia probe.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has written a letter to Barr demanding answers about the DOJ’s purported surveillance of House and Senate employees. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) has echoed these calls, saying that Congress has a duty to protect the privacy of its staff and to scrutinize executive branch actions. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) has also asked for an investigation into the matter.
Additionally, nine Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), sent a letter to the Department of Justice Inspector General urging for an immediate investigation into whether the DOJ took any steps to monitor congressional staffers or staffers of an elected official.
These requests come after reports emerged that the DOJ received approval from a secret court to intercept communications from certain congressional staffers in a bid to determine if any violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act had been committed. While the effort reportedly did not lead to any charges, it is still being viewed skeptically by many Republican lawmakers.