In 2017, certain Republican-led House and Senate committees began probing the Justice Department to determine the origin of the false Trump-Russia collusion narrative and subsequent "Crossfire Hurricane" FBI investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign.
It has now been revealed that the DOJ has been caught "red-handed" for, at the same time, spying on the congressional staff investigators leading the oversight probes, according to Breitbart.
That revelation came recently after a court-ordered seal expired and exposed DOJ subpoenas sent to Google and other tech companies in 2017 for personal information and phone records related to former House Oversight Committee chief investigator Kash Patel and former Senate Judiciary Committee chief investigative counsel Jason Foster, among others.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart, Patel, who was a top investigator for then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) and author of the "Nunes Memo" that first exposed the FBI's spying on the Trump campaign, explained what is now known to have occurred and that he has filed a lawsuit against the DOJ for violating his constitutional rights.
"When Congress comes in to expose government waste, fraud and abuse and corruption, the DOJ and FBI and other agencies aren’t supposed to use their powers to weaponize and seek revenge. And that’s what you’re seeing here," Patel said. "They did not have a justification to surveil myself and other senior congressional staffers; their justification was the weaponization of justice, to seek vengeance against the people that were exposing their unlawful activity. We caught them red-handed."
"They were looking for dirt on us and on Devin Nunes because at the time -- remember that time period was just before the release of the Nunes memo which I authored, which blew the lid on FISAGate, which showed the FBI lied to federal court and which showed they withheld exculpatory evidence," he continued of the DOJ's apparent retaliatory efforts.
"Whether you hated us back then [because of] the Nunes memo -- well, every report since then has said the same thing we did," Patel said of what he first uncovered. "We were the first out of the gate. The IG, John Durham, said there was no lawful basis to ever investigate Trump or his campaign and that FBI people lied to a federal court and the slew of other violations that they came up with."
"They got caught. We asked them to help expose it and instead they doubled down and used the system of justice and FBI investigatory powers to try to take us out and silence us," he added.
The Daily Mail reported that according to the now-unsealed but partially redacted subpoenas for information about GOP congressional investigators Patel and Foster, it appears that they were authorized and signed by then-Assistant U.S. Attorney Tejpal Chawla, who has a documented history of donating to Democrats over the years.
"This was just a fishing expedition to gather intel on their overseers in Congress," Foster told the outlet. "We were their primary oversight committee. And we were asking them very pointed and difficult questions that they didn't want to answer."
Foster has now filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all records detailing the DOJ's snooping on himself and other congressional investigators, which also included some Democratic staffers, ostensibly in search of leaks of classified information.
"You have to ask, how far does this go? We're only just finding out about the Senate," he told the Daily Mail. "We knew earlier about House Intel. Who else have they been monitoring? And for how long?"
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz's office recently said in a statement, "The DOJ OIG is reviewing the DOJ’s use of subpoenas and other legal authorities to obtain communication records of Members of Congress and affiliated persons, and the news media in connection with recent investigations of alleged unauthorized disclosures of information to the media by government officials."
"The review will examine the Department’s compliance with applicable DOJ policies and procedures, and whether any such uses, or the investigations, were based upon improper considerations," the statement added. "If circumstances warrant, the OIG will consider other issues that may arise during the review."