The Justice Department’s top national security official is resigning from his position following revelations that the department secretly seized records from Democrats and members of the media.
WASHINGTON — The top Justice Department national security official is resigning from his position following revelations that the department secretly seized records from Democrats and members of the media.
John Demers will step down by the end of next week, a Justice Department official told the Associated Press on Monday. Officials could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
The resignation comes amid questions about what Demers knew about the Justice Department’s efforts to secretly seize phone data from House Democrats and journalists as part of an aggressive investigation into the leaks.
Demers, who was sworn in weeks after being summoned for the Democrats’ record, is a Trump appointee who remains in the Biden administration. He is one of the few remaining Trump appointees still in office.
After the summons was issued in 2018, the records of at least 12 people associated with the House Intelligence Panel were eventually shared by Apple with the Justice Department. People included associates, former colleagues and family members. was a minor.
Apple said the summons issued on February 6, 2018 requested information on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses. The company said in a statement that it also included a non-disclosure order that prohibited the company from notifying any person and was renewed three times.
The official said Demers would be replaced by Mark Lesko, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Demers has been in charge of the department’s national security division since February 2018, Democrats are sworn in just weeks after Apple was issued a summons for the record, and her division has played a role in every leak investigation.
The Justice Department’s Inspector General has opened an investigation into the matter following a request from Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. Inspector General Michael Horowitz said he would investigate whether the data submitted by the Justice Department and Apple complied with department policy and “whether any such use, or investigation, was based on unreasonable considerations.”
In a statement Monday, Attorney General Merrick Garland said that “political or other unreasonable considerations should play no part in any investigation or prosecution decision” and that he expects the inspector general to conduct a thorough investigation.
Garland said, “If at any time the investigation progresses as necessary action is taken regarding the case, I will not hesitate to move swiftly.”
“In line with our commitment to the rule of law,” he said, “we must ensure that full weight is given to concerns of separation of powers going forward.”