US Justice Department official quits amid uproar over Democrats’ records seizure

John Demers (AP)
15:59pm, Mon 14 Jun 2021
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The US Justice Department’s top national security official is resigning from his position after revelations the department secretly seized records from Democrats and members of the media.

John Demers will leave his position by the end of next week, a Justice Department official told The Associated Press.

It comes amid questions about what Mr Demers knew about the Justice Department’s efforts to secretly seize the phone data from House Democrats and reporters as part of the aggressive investigations into leaks.

News emerged last week that the Justice Department had secretly subpoenaed Apple for metadata from House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff and another Democratic member of the panel, California representative Eric Swalwell, in 2018, as their committee was investigating former president Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.

Mr Schiff at the time was the top Democrat on the panel, which was led by Republicans.

The announcement of his resignation comes a day after Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said Mr Demers should appear before Congress voluntarily or face a subpoena to answer questions about the subpoenas, in addition to former attorneys general Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions.

Mr Demers will be replaced by Mark Lesko, the acting US attorney in the Eastern District of New York, the official said.

Mr Demers has been in charge of the department’s national security division since February 2018, being sworn in a few weeks after the subpoena was issued to Apple for the Democrats’ records, and his division has played a role in each of the leak investigations.

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