Justice Department prosecutors seized data from Apple on two Democratic lawmakers, according to the NY Times.
Former President Donald Trump’s US Department of Justice prosecutors seized data from Apple on two Democratic lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee, along with their staff and family members, the New York reported Thursday. Times.
Summons for communications metadata targeted Congressman Adam Schiff of California, an enemy of Trump who was then the panel’s top Democrat and now its chairman, the newspaper said.
The record-breaking seizures took place in 2017 and early 2018, as the department investigated leaks of classified information relating to contacts between the Trump administration and the Russian government, according to the newspaper.
Trump has repeatedly called on the DOJ to prosecute his political enemies.
It is clear that his requests did not fall on deaf ears.
This baseless investigation, though now closed, is yet another example of Trump’s corrupt militarization of justice.
And how much he has endangered our democracy.
– Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) June 11, 2021
Congressman Eric Swalwell told CNN on Thursday he was the second Democratic lawmaker on the affected committee.
“I was informed… by Apple that they had seized my files. This is wrong, ”he said.
One of the targeted family members was a minor, the newspaper reported.
According to the Times, prosecutors working under then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions made unusual efforts to find the source of the leaked classified information.
Justice officials targeted electronic data not only of lawmakers, but also that of their staff and families, possibly targeting a minor because investigators believed lawmakers were using the devices of their associates or lawmakers. their children to hide contacts with journalists.
Like many of the world’s most despicable dictators, former President Trump showed utter disregard for our democracy and the rule of law. My statement: pic.twitter.com/Pvvb1xYiLn
– Representative Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) June 11, 2021
The Justice Department and Apple have yet to comment on the report.
Ultimately, none of the data or other evidence linked lawmakers or the House Intelligence Committee to the leaks, the Times said.
But investigations into the leaks were revived by Attorney General Bill Barr a year later, the newspaper reported.
Seizure of such files has rarely been observed outside of corruption investigations.
“The arming of the police”
Schiff, without confirming that he was the target of the investigation, called for an investigation by the Inspector General of the Department of Justice into “this case and others which suggest the militarization of law enforcement by a president corrupt ”.
Trump “tried to use the Department as a stick against his political opponents and members of the media. It is increasingly clear that these requests have not fallen on deaf ears, ”Schiff said in a statement.
Top Democrat Nancy Pelosi also called for an investigation, calling the New York Times report “heartbreaking.”
“These actions appear to be another blatant attack on our democracy led by the former president,” she said in a statement.
The Justice Department imposed a gag order on Apple that expired this year, meaning lawmakers were unaware of the investigations until the tech giant notified them last month, the newspaper said. .
Schiff, who led the team of Democratic prosecutors in Trump’s first Senate impeachment trial in early 2020, has long railed against the former president, calling him “dangerous.”
He pleaded in early 2020 for Trump to be removed from office for abuse of power and obstructing Congress. Trump was then acquitted. He was then impeached by the House and acquitted by the Senate, for his alleged role in inciting rioters who stormed the US capital on January 6, 2021.