IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
June 20, 2019
Mr. Whitehouse (for himself, Mr. Blumenthal, and Ms. Harris) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
To require the recording and reporting of communications between the Department of Justice and the White House relating to civil and criminal investigations, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Security from Political Interference in Justice Act of 2019.
In this Act—
the term communications log means the log required to be maintained under section 3(a);
the term covered communication—
means any communication relating to an ongoing investigation conducted by the Department of Justice in any civil or criminal matter (regardless of whether a civil action or criminal indictment or information has been filed); and
does not include a communication that—
relates solely to policy, appointments, legislation, rulemaking, budgets, public relations, programmatic matters, intergovernmental relations, administrative or personnel matters, appellate litigation, or requests for legal advice; and
does not relate to an ongoing investigation described in subparagraph (A); and
the term investigative office means—
the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice; and
the Office of Professional Responsibility of the Department of Justice.
The Counsel to the President and the Attorney General shall each maintain a log of any covered communication between—
an officer or employee of the Department of Justice; and
an officer or employee of the Executive Office of the President.
A communications log shall include, with respect to a covered communication—
the name and title of each officer or employee of the Department of Justice or the Executive Office of the President who participated in the covered communication;
the topic of the covered communication; and
a statement describing the purpose and necessity of the covered communication.
Periodic disclosure of logs
Subject to subparagraph (B), not later than January 30 and July 30 of each year, the Attorney General shall submit to Congress and each investigative office a report containing the communications log for the 6-month period preceding that January or July.
Records of certain communications
The Attorney General shall exclude from the report submitted to Congress under subparagraph (A) any record of a covered communication in which any of the following officials participated:
The Vice President.
The Counsel to the President.
The Counselor to the President.
The Attorney General.
The Deputy Attorney General.
The Associate Attorney General.
Rule of construction
The exclusion of certain records under clause (i) from the report to Congress under subparagraph (A) shall not be construed to—
exclude those records from the report to the investigative offices under subparagraph (A) or the review and notice requirements under paragraph (2); or
protect those records from congressional subpoena.
Notice of inappropriate or improper communications
The head of an investigative office shall—
review each communications log received under paragraph (1)(A); and
notify Congress if the office head determines that a covered communication described in the communications log—
is inappropriate from a law enforcement perspective; or
raises concerns about improper political interference.