Justice Department prosecutors have subpoenaed Apple to obtain data on the accounts of two Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee, including current Chairman Adam Schiff, as they investigate leaks of classified information related to the Contacts between former President Trump’s aides and Russia at the start of the Trump administration, two sources confirmed to CBS News.
The New York Times, which first reported the subpoenas, said the data of at least a dozen people linked to the committee had been entered. Some of the targets were committee aides and family members, including a minor, the sources told CBS News.
A House Intelligence Committee official told CBS News that subpoena targets were notified by Apple in May that the Department of Justice had issued grand jury summons for their information in February 2018. Files were also seized in 2017. The committee was informed in May that the case was closed.
Apple did not provide emails, photos or other personal information, only metadata and account information, a person familiar with the investigation told The Times. Apple and the Justice Department declined to comment.
The Times said data obtained from the subpoenas did not show the committee was responsible for the leaks. But he reported that when William Barr became attorney general in 2019, he revived the leakage investigations, tasking a New Jersey attorney to investigate Schiff and others.
While it was not immediately clear why the files of family members and children were targeted, a source familiar with the investigation said investigators may have sought them out because they suspected that they were used to hide interactions with journalists.
An official familiar with the matter said there did not appear to be any similar action taken for members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and it was not immediately clear whether Republican members of either committee had been subpoenaed.
Schiff issued a statement Thursday condemning Mr. Trump’s efforts to use the Justice Department “as a stick against his political opponents and members of the media.” Schiff was one of the most visible Democrats on the committee before Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial and was one of his frequent targets.
“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 former president,” said Schiff. He asked the agency’s inspector general to investigate “this case and others which suggest the militarization of the police by a corrupt president”.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the New York Times report “heartbreaking.”
“These actions appear to be another blatant attack on our democracy led by the former president,” Pelosi said in a statement.
The news comes weeks after several news outlets saidthat the Justice Department had secretly obtained telephone and electronic recordings of some of their reporters during the early months of the Trump administration.
After President Biden condemned the practice in late May, the Justice Department said this month it would no longer seize reporters’ files while investigating the leaks.