When the news broke a few days ago that the Trump DOJ had been spying on the personal data of multiple political officials, there were widespread calls (including from us) for Attorney General Merrick Garland to clean house. After all, anyone who was involved in this scandal, and still works at the DOJ, needs to be immediately ousted. Now it looks like that’s already beginning to happen.
Earlier today Garland announced his support for a DOJ Inspector General investigation into the scandal, which means it’s definitely going to happen, and it’s going to be a priority. This came after the news broke this weekend that Garland and his Deputy Attorney General were supporting such a probe. Then today John Demers, a top DOJ official who reportedly had his hands all over the spying scandal, abruptly resigned.
These kinds of controversial departures are always framed as a “resignation” no matter how they’ve really played out. But it’s obvious that Demers is running for the hills. Either Garland told him he had to resign, or Demers is making this move in the hope of avoiding the Inspector General investigation. Either way, it’s clear that Garland has (directly or indirectly) pushed Demers out the door – which is what we were all demanding.
Of course this is just a start. Much, much more has to happen as this goes on. But keep in mind that whoever in the DOJ was responsible for this spying scandal, surely spent the past few months trying to keep Merrick Garland from learning about it. It’s highly likely that Garland found out about it when the rest of us did. In such case he’s making initial moves rather quickly in response to it. Now that just has to continue.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report