House Democrats Subpoena Justice Department ‘Whistle-Blowers’

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(Bloomberg) -- The Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee said it will hear testimony next week from two Justice Department officials who “are prepared to describe the unprecedented politicization of the department” under President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler said he issued subpoenas for the two officials, Aaron Zelinsky and John Elias, both of whom he described as “whistle-blowers.”

House Democrats Subpoena Justice Department ‘Whistle-Blowers’

“Mr. Zelinsky can speak to the department’s handling of the sentencing of Roger Stone, and Mr. Elias can speak to improperly motivated activity by the Antitrust Division,” Nadler of New York said in a statement on Tuesday.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the two officials consider themselves to be whistle-blowers or if the department will let them testify at the June 24 hearing. The department had no immediate comment.

Zelinsky was a lead prosecutor on the case against Stone, one of Trump’s most ardent political allies who was convicted in November for witness-tampering and lying to FBI agents. Zelinsky and other prosecutors withdrew from the case in February after Barr ordered a reduction in the time the department was recommending that Stone serve in prison.

Elias is a career Justice Department employee who joined the antitrust division in 2006, according to the department website. He may be asked about an inquiry the antitrust division has opened into a fuel efficiency agreement some major automakers made with the state of California, according to the New York Times.

Although Barr has said he is remedying past abuses by anti-Trump forces in the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, critics say he is using the department to politically benefit Trump and his allies.

“The attorney general -- who cites his busy schedule as a basis for refusing to appear before the House Judiciary Committee but has made time for multiple television interviews -- may have abdicated his responsibility to Congress,” Nadler said.

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