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Trump’s Justice Department has summoned Apple to appear for data from House Intelligence Committee Democrats, source says

Representative Eric Swalwell of California, another Democrat on the committee, told CNN’s Don Lemon Thursday night that he had been told his data had also been seized as part of the investigation.

The hunt for leaks began with the FBI sending a subpoena to Apple in February 2018, which included a gag order, seeking metadata on more than 100 accounts as part of a disclosure investigation. classified information, said the person familiar with the matter.

The gag order was renewed three times before it expired this year, and Apple has notified customers. The House Intelligence Committee has determined that together with panel members and staff, the dragnet collected records from family members, including at least one minor, the person said.

The files seized included those of staff members who had nothing to do with issues related to Russia or former FBI Director James Comey, including staff from Schiff’s personal office, a source told CNN of the House Intelligence Committee.

The leadership of the Democratic committee is relying on the self-report to find out who has been affected at this point – both members and staff, the source said.

Swalwell confirmed to CNN that the files of family members and a minor have been obtained.

“I know it’s true,” he told Lemon. “And I think they were targeted in a punitive way, not for a legal reason, but because Donald Trump identified President Schiff and the members of the committee as his enemy.”

Those subject to subpoenas were informed in May by Apple that the Justice Department had issued subpoenas to appear before a grand jury in February 2018 for their information, the head of the House Intelligence Committee said.

“The committee continued to seek additional information, but the department was not available in a timely manner, including on issues such as whether the investigation was properly founded and whether it was only targeting Democrats,” the department said. head of the committee at CNN.

At this point, members of the legislative affairs staff are the only members of the Justice Department to have contacted the intelligence committee, according to the committee’s source.

The news of the subpoenas is just the latest revelation about the Trump administration’s tough tactics in investigating the leaks. The development follows a spate of revelations about the Justice Department secretly obtaining files from journalists, including CNN’s Barbara Starr, as well as reporters from the Washington Post and other news outlets.

And while the data did not link the committee to the leaks during the tenure of then Attorney General Jeff Sessions, William Barr transferred a New Jersey prosecutor to the main Department of Justice to work on the related case. to Schiff and others when he became a lawyer. general the following year, three people with knowledge of his work told The Times.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice, a representative for Apple and Barr declined to comment for the Times.

In a statement Thursday evening, Schiff said: “The politicization of the department and attacks on the rule of law are among the most dangerous attacks on our democracy perpetrated by the former president. Although we were informed by the department in May that this investigation is closed, 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 the police by a corrupt president. “

Asked by CNN’s Chris Cuomo later Thursday about the number of accounts seized, Schiff said he was unsure of the number but postulated: “It wouldn’t surprise me if it was an extraordinary number. because only the circle that I’m aware of was so too large that they clearly weren’t discriminating. They were just fishing. “

This message was echoed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who called the development “heartbreaking.”

“These actions appear to be another blatant attack on our democracy led by the former president,” Pelosi said in a statement.

“I support the call of the chairman of the intelligence committee, Adam Schiff, for an investigation into this situation and other acts of militarization of law enforcement by the former president. Transparency is essential.”

This story has been updated with further developments.

CNN’s Katie Bo Williams and Kristin Wilson contributed to this report.


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