Justice Official Leaving Amid Records Seizure Controversy

John Demers is resigning as assistant AG for national security after Apple subpoenas
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 14, 2021 11:46 AM CDT
Justice Official Leaving Amid Records Seizure Controversy
In this Oct. 19, 2020, file photo, Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division John Demers speaks at a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, pool)

The Justice Department’s top national security official is resigning from his position after revelations that the department secretly seized records from Democrats and members of the media. John Demers will leave his post as assistant attorney general for national security by the end of next week, a Justice Department official told the AP on Monday. The resignation comes amid questions about what Demers knew about the DOJ's efforts to secretly seize the phone data from House Democrats and reporters as part of the aggressive investigations into leaks. Demers, who was sworn in a few weeks after the subpoena for the Democrats' records, is a Trump appointee who has remained in the Biden administration. Demers has been in charge of the department's national security division since February 2018.

News emerged last week that the DOJ had secretly subpoenaed Apple for metadata from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and another Democratic member of the panel, Rep. Eric Swalwell, in 2018, as their committee was investigating then-President Trump's ties to Russia. The records of at least 12 people connected to the House intelligence panel—including aides, former aides, and family members, one a minor—were eventually shared with the DOJ by Apple after the subpoena was issued. The DOJ's inspector general has launched a probe into the matter. Demers was sworn in a few weeks post-subpoena, and his division has played a role in each of the leak investigations. (The department also subpoenaed the data of former President Trump's White House counsel.)

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