DOJ seeks internal probe on seizure of Democrats' data

DOJ seeks internal probe on seizure of Democrats' data

DOJ seeks internal probe on seizure of Democrats' data

The statement from Schumer and Durbin is in response to reports Thursday night that the Justice Department in 2018 secretly subpoenaed Apple for the data of two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (Calif.), as well as the data of their current and former staffers and family members.

The revelation about the subpoenas marks the latest disclosure about the Trump administration's heavy-handed tactics toward leak investigations, after reports in recent weeks revealed how the Trump DOJ secretly obtained records from journalists.

Prosecutors under Jeff Sessions, the first attorney general in Trump's Republican administration, were seeking to find the sources behind media reports about contacts between Trump associates and Russian Federation, the Times said.

The records pulled included those of Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who was the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee at the time, the Times reported, citing committee officials and two other people briefed on the inquiry.

The records of aides and family members were also shared, including one who was a minor, according to the committee official.

Apple informed the committee that the metadata had been seized after a gag order in the matter was lifted in May 2021. The committee is aware, though, that metadata from the accounts was turned over, the official said.

While the Justice Department routinely conducts investigations of leaked information, including classified intelligence, opening such an investigation into members of Congress is extraordinarily rare. Schiff and other Democrats on the committee became some of the most vocal critics of Trump in Congress. "The politicization of the Department and the attacks on the rule of law are among the most unsafe assaults on our democracy carried out by the former President".

Apple informed the committee last month that the records had been shared and that the investigation had been closed, but did not give extensive detail.

"President Trump repeatedly and flagrantly demanded that the Department of Justice carry out his political will, and tried to use the Department as a cudgel against his political opponents and members of the media".

But the leak investigations were revived by attorney general Bill Barr a year later, the paper reported.

"The news about the politicization of the Trump Administration Justice Department is harrowing".

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco made the request of the Justice Department's inspector general, a senior Justice Department official told The Associated Press. After some of the information was declassified and made public during the later years of the Trump administration, there was concern among some of the prosecutors that even if they could bring a leak case, trying it would be hard and a conviction would be unlikely, one of the people said.

The Justice Department also seized Apple data from the accounts of committee aides and family members, the Times said. The first and most important norm post-Watergate is the president of the United States does not get involved in particular cases at the Justice Department, doesn't urge the Justice Department to investigate particular people.

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