Trump administration officials subpoenaed Apple for data on accounts belonging to at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, congressional aides and their family members to find who was behind the leaks of classified information, The New York Times reported on Thursday
Committee officials and sources with knowledge of the inquiry told the Times that records belonging to at least a dozen people, including House Intelligence Chair Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHillicon Valley: Meat producer JBS USA hit by cyberattack | White House says JBS hack likely from Russia | Report finds Amazon injury rate above warehouse standard New Russian hacks spark calls for tougher Biden actions Schiff: Marjorie Taylor Greene’s actions ‘a sign of the greater rot in her party’ MORE (D-Calif.), were seized in 2017 and 2018. Data that belonged to family members, including at least one minor, was also seized.
One source told the Times that Apple turned over metadata and account information, but did not provide photos, emails or other content.
According to the Times, prosecutors under former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDemocrats claim vindication, GOP cries witch hunt as McGahn finally testifies CNN reporter’s phone and email records secretly obtained by Trump administration: report Biden looks to expand legal assistance for minorities, low-income Americans MORE were looking to identify sources who were speaking to members of the media about contact between Trump associates and Russia.
The data seized in the investigations ultimately did not connect the Intelligence Committee to the information leaks; however, Session’s successor Bill Barr later revived the investigation, moving a trusted New Jersey prosecutor, Osmar Benvenuto, into the main branch of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to continue the investigation into Schiff and around half-a-dozen other people, according to the Times.
In a statement to the Times, Schiff said former President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer House Republican to challenge DeWine for Ohio gubernatorial nomination GOP senators press Justice Department to compare protest arrests to Capitol riot Overnight Defense: Austin directs classified initiatives to counter China | Biden emphasizes alliances in speech to troops | Lockdown lifted at Texas base after reported shooting MORE had used the DOJ as a “cudgel against his political opponents and members of the media.”
“It is increasingly apparent that those demands did not fall on deaf ears,” Schiff said. “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.”
Trump repeatedly demanded the DOJ go after his political enemies.
It’s clear his demands didn’t fall on deaf ears.
This baseless investigation, while now closed, is yet another example of Trump’s corrupt weaponization of justice.
And how much he imperiled our democracy.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) June 11, 2021
The California congressman called for an independent inspector general to investigate the probe into committee members and any others who “suggest the weaponization of law enforcement.”
David Laufman, a former DOJ official who used to investigate leaks, told the Times, “notwithstanding whether there was sufficient predication for the leak investigation itself, including family members and minor children strikes me as extremely aggressive.”
“In combination with former President Trump’s unmistakable vendetta against Congressman Schiff, it raises serious questions about whether the manner in which this investigation was conducted was influenced by political considerations rather than purely legal ones,” Laufman added.
“Recently, it has become public that the Trump Administration sought account metadata of House Intelligence Committee Members and staff and their families,” House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: US to donate 500 million Pfizer doses to other countries: reports | GOP’s attacks on Fauci at center of pandemic message | Federal appeals court blocks Missouri abortion ban Meet the most powerful woman in Washington not named Pelosi or Harris The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Biden detours on infrastructure ahead of June vote MORE said in a statement (D-Calif.). “The news about the politicization of the Trump Administration Justice Department is harrowing. These actions appear to be yet another egregious assault on our democracy waged by the former president.
“I support Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s call for an investigation into this situation and other acts of the weaponization of law enforcement by the former president,” she added. “Transparency is essential.”
This report comes amid other reports that the DOJ under the Trump administration sought the phone and emails records of various reporters from CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post, among others, to find out where they were sourcing their information.