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Chairman Nadler Statement on Testimony from Former DOJ Official and Subpoenas for Whistleblowers

Washington, June 16, 2020
Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) issued two subpoenas for testimony from two Department of Justice whistleblowers.  These individuals—John W. Elias and Aaron S.J. Zelinsky—are prepared to describe the unprecedented politicization of the Department under President Trump and Attorney General William Barr.  Mr. Elias and Mr. Zelinsky will be joined by former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Donald Ayer in a hearing before the Committee on June 24, 2020. 

Chairman Nadler released the following statement: 

“Again and again, Attorney General Barr has demonstrated that he will cater to President Trump’s private political interests, at the expense of the American people and the rule of law.  He has abruptly reversed course on prosecutions against the President’s allies and friends.  He has pursued pretextual investigations against the President’s perceived political enemies.  He has failed to defend the Affordable Care Act, and he has helped to roll back important civil rights protections.  Although he has since tried to escape responsibility for his actions, he ordered federal officers to use tear gas, stun grenades, and pepper spray on American citizens peaceably exercising their constitutional rights—all to clear a path for the President, who wanted a convenient photo op.

“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, but the brave men and women of our civil service have not.  The Committee welcomes the testimony of current and former Department officials who will speak to the lasting damage the President and the Attorney General have inflicted on the Department of Justice.  Two of the witnesses scheduled to testify, Aaron Zelinsky and John Elias, are dedicated public servants currently employed by the Department.  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.  A third witness, former Deputy Attorney General Donald Ayer, who served under President George H.W. Bush, will describe what is at stake when there is a breakdown of the Department’s independence at the hands of its own leadership.”
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