Trump’s Justice Department obtained data from House Democrats in leak investigation


Justice Department prosecutors subpoenaed Apple for data from the accounts of two Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee, including current Chairman Adam Schiff, while investigating leaks of classified information related to contacts between aides to former President Trump and Russia in the early days of the Trump administration, two sources confirmed to CBS News.

The New York Times, which first reported the subpoenas, said the data of at least a dozen people connected to the committee was seized. Some of the targets were committee aides and family members, including a minor, the sources told CBS News.

A House Intelligence Committee official told CBS News that targets of the subpoenas were told by Apple in May that the Justice Department had issued grand jury subpoenas for their information in February 2018. Records were also seized in 2017. The Committee was told in May that the matter had been closed.

Apple did not provide emails, photos, or other personal information, only metadata and account information, a person familiar with the inquiry told the Times. Both Apple and the Justice Department declined to comment.

The Times said the data obtained from the subpoenas did not show the committee was responsible for the leaks. But it reported that when William Barr became attorney general in 2019, he revived the leak investigations, tasking a prosecutor from New Jersey with investigating Schiff and others.

While it wasn’t immediately clear why the records of family members and children were targeted, a source knowledgeable about the probe said investigators may have sought them out of suspicion they were being used to hide interactions with reporters.

An official familiar with the matter said there did not appear to be similar measures taken for members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and it was not immediately clear whether any Republican members of either committee were subpoenaed.  

Schiff released a statement Thursday condemning Mr. Trump’s efforts to use the Justice Department “as a cudgel against his political opponents and members of the media.” Schiff was one of the most visible Democrats on the committee prior to Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial, and was one of his frequent targets.

“The politicization of the Department and the attacks on the rule of law are among the most dangerous assaults on our democracy carried out by the former President,” Schiff said. He called for the agency’s inspector general to investigate “this and other cases that suggest the weaponization of law enforcement by a corrupt president.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the New York Times report “harrowing.”

“These actions appear to be yet another egregious assault on our democracy waged by the former president,” Pelosi said in a statement.

The news comes weeks after multiple news outlets said they had received notice that the Justice Department had secretly obtained phone and email records from some of their reporters in the first months of the Trump administration.

After President Biden condemned the practice in late May, the Justice Department said this month that it would no longer seize reporters’ records while investigating leaks.



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