Trump DOJ sought records of Trump White House counsel

Former White House counsel Don McGahn and wife have been notified by Apple that the Trump Justice Department requested information on them in 2018. So reports the Washington Post.

It’s not clear what the DOJ was investigating that led to the request. Nor is it clear whether its investigators were targeting McGahn or just came across his name while viewing the records of others. McGahn figured in Robert Mueller’s investigation. Thus, the Post speculates that his data might have been swept up as prosecutors probed those with whom Mueller was in contact.

The report that the DOJ sought McGahn’s records comes on the heels of reports that it sought records from Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell. The latter subpoenas raise the more serious questions, since they involved the executive investigating members of the legislative branch. However, all such subpoenas raise concerns, absent a sound basis for their issuance.

I offered my view of the Schiff and Swalwell subpoenas here.

The weakest take on these matters comes, not surprisingly, from Nancy Pelosi. She says that what the Trump administration did here “goes beyond Richard Nixon. Nixon had an enemies list. This is about undermining the rule of law.”

Pelosi has it backwards. When Nixon’s people wanted records, they broke the law by engaging in burglary to obtain them. In the Trump administration, the records were sought lawfully, via subpoenas.

Sen. Susan Collins has a better take. She sees two issues.

One has to do with whether there was a leak of classified information by members of Congress, but the second is whether the Justice Department has abused its power by going after members of Congress and the press for partisan political purposes.

The two issues are distinct, as Collins says, but related. If members of Congress were leaking classified information, that makes it considerably more likely that the DOJ did not abuse its power, or act out of partisanship, in investigating those members and others.

I assume that the second of Collins’ issues will be investigated by Democratic Congress. It should be. So should the first issue.

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