Two Democratic lawmakers want former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to clarify certain aspects of the Supreme Court’s investigation into last year’s the leak of the draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade.
Chertoff was tapped by Chief Justice John Roberts to review a report compiled by the marshal of the court. In a new letter obtained by CNN Thursday, the Democrats said that “several aspects” of the investigation seemed “anomalous.”
The letter, penned by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia, listed several questions ranging from the role of Chertoff ‘s own firm in approving certain aspects of the investigation, and whether actions taken “correspond with standard investigative technique.
It comes after CNN’s exclusive reporting related to Chertoff’s endorsement of the court’s investigation into the leak of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion on abortion.
The investigation, overseen by the court’s marshal, Gail Curley, failed to identify anyone responsible for the disclosure. Her 20-page report detailed some of the steps in the inquiry, including 126 formal interviews of 97 employees, but also noted some of the loose protocol that might have contributed to the leak. For example, about 100 people had access to the draft opinion at the outset and many employees printed out multiple copies.
In a one-page statement issued with the report in late January, Chertoff wrote that Curley “undertook a thorough investigation” and said he could not identify any other measure that should have been taken.
Chertoff wrote at the time that Roberts had asked him “to independently review and assess the thoroughness of the investigation into the Dobbs draft opinion leak and to identify any additional useful investigative measures as well as actions that would improve the handling of sensitive documents in the future.”
In the new letter, the lawmakers asked to clarify additional matters.
They asked him to describe whether the investigation into the justices differed in any way from the investigation into other Supreme Court personnel in “time sequence and manner” and whether there was an “investigative basis” for treating them differently. They asked if any statements were taken from justices and if there is any record kept of such statements.
Noting that the marshal’s report identified the leak as a “misguided attempt at protest” they asked if there was any evidence to point to the assertion.
They also asked whether there was any attempt to require assistance from professional federal law enforcement officials.