Trump DOJ seized Apple data from Adam Schiff, other House Democrats

Ross Houston
June 11, 2021

The scoop: The Justice Department under Trump subpoenaed Apple for data on at least two prominent Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell.

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.

Subpoenas for the communications metadata targeted congressman Adam Schiff of California, a Trump foe who was then the panel's top Democrat and now its chairman, the paper said.

In 2017 and 2018, the records of 12 people with connections to the committee - including a minor - were seized, several people with knowledge of the matter told the Times.

"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", he said.

The Trump administration's attempt to secretly gain access to the data came as the president was fuming publicly and privately over investigations - in Congress and by then-special counsel Robert Mueller - into his campaign's ties to Russian Federation. Trump called the inquiries a "witch hunt" and regularly criticized Schiff and other Democrats on Twitter.

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

The Department of Justice subjected Apple to a gag order that expired earlier this year, with Apple informing lawmakers they had been investigated just last month.

MADDOW: You released a statement tonight, and you spoke with "The Times" as well, calling on the inspector general, the independent inspector general inside the Justice Department, to look into this, to investigate this essentially as the - potentially, the weaponization of law enforcement for political purposes.

"Ultimately, the data and other evidence did not tie the committee to the leaks, and investigators debated whether they had hit a dead end and some even discussed closing the inquiry", the paper said. Swalwell, confirming that he was told his records were seized, told CNN on Thursday night that he was aware a minor was involved and believed that person was "targeted punitively and not for any reason in law".

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

In a statement provided to Insider, Schiff blasted former President Donald Trump for targeting committee members and called for an investigation.

There's no indication that the Justice Department used the records to prosecute anyone. After some of the information was declassified and made public during the later years of the Trump administration, some of the prosecutors were concerned 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.

"There must be a full investigation of abuses under former Attorneys General Sessions and Barr, and anyone at DOJ who was complicit in these abuses of power can not be trusted to continue serving in government", the statement said. Biden's Justice Department has vowed to end the practice.

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