House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) Said the Inspector General should investigate Donald Trump’s “arming of law enforcement” after The New York Times reported that the administration the former president had summoned Apple to appear to obtain data from the congressman’s account.
Driving the news: At least a dozen people linked to the intelligence committee had files seized between 2017 and early 2018, including Schiff, who was at the time the panel’s top Democrat and is now its chairman, The Times reported, citing persons informed of the investigation.
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Why is this important: The revelation comes with recent revelations that the Trump administration secretly seized telephone records from reporters at CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi echoed Schiff’s call for an investigation.
“These actions appear to be another blatant attack on our democracy led by the former president,” she said in a statement.
The state of play: Department of Justice prosecutors, under then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, were looking for the sources behind reports of contacts between former President Trump’s associates and Russia.
“Ultimately, the data and other evidence did not link the committee to the leaks, and investigators debated whether they were at an impasse and some even discussed closing the investigation,” wrote the Times.
“Zealousness in the Trump administration’s efforts to track down the leakers has led to the extraordinary step of subpoenaing the metadata of members of Congress’ communications – a move almost unheard of outside of corruption investigations,” adds the newspaper.
Apple handed over the metadata and account information, according to the Times.
To note: The DOJ secured a gag order on Apple that expired earlier this year, someone familiar with the investigation told The Times, so lawmakers were not aware of the investigation until the tech giant informed them in May.
What they say : “President Trump has repeatedly and blatantly demanded that the Justice Department carry out its political will and tried to use the department as a stick against its political opponents and members of the media, “Schiff wrote in a statement. following the Times report Thursday night.
“It is increasingly clear that these demands have not fallen on deaf ears. The politicization of the department and attacks on the rule of law are among the most dangerous attacks on our democracy carried out by the government. ‘former president,’ he said.
“Although the ministry informed us in May of the closure of this investigation, I think more answers are needed, which is why I think the Inspector General should investigate this case and others that suggest the militarization of law enforcement by a corrupt president. “
The Justice Department declined to comment.
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