GOP Senators have called for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to answer questions about reports that it spied on congressional staffers during the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr asking the DOJ to respond to reports that it had used sources to track the activities of congressional committee staffers. The senators allege that the DOJ had “improperly accessed private emails and text messages” of congressional staff, including those on the House Intelligence Committee.
The senators demanded in their letter to Barr that the DOJ provide details about its sources, such as whether they were foreign nationals or from the intelligence community. They also asked for clarification on why the DOJ conducted these “unauthorized surveillance activities” and questioned if the DOJ complied with federal laws that protect congressional aides from investigations and surveillance.
This is not the first time the DOJ has come under fire for its handling of the Russia investigation. In a letter to Barr earlier this year, a group of Democratic senators expressed concern that the DOJ might have improperly monitored the activities of congressional aides. However, the DOJ has denied any improper surveillance of congressional staffers.
The senators’ letter to Barr is an indication that Congress is still seeking answers about the Trump administration’s involvement in the Russia investigation. It is unclear what consequences, if any, the DOJ will face over the allegations of spying on congressional staffers.