Justice Department under Trump seized data from House Democrats in leaks inquiry

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Trump Justice Department seized records of House Democrats as it searched for leakers: report

The U.S. Justice Department under former President Donald Trump subpoenaed Apple Inc for data from the accounts of at least two Democrats on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee in an attempt to find out who was behind leaks of classified information, the New York Times reported on Thursday. We have seen this through the justice department by Donald Trump, whether it was the reason he was impeached for trying to go after vice president Biden at the time, or just other efforts, you know, through the Mueller investigation.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, one of the Democrats whose records were seized as part of this investigation, called for an inspector general investigation Thursday evening following the reports. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) was the second member, according to spokeswoman Natalie Edelstein.

Apple informed the committee last month that their records had been shared, but did not give extensive detail.

The Justice Department officials targeted electronic data not only of the lawmakers, but that of their staff and families, possibly targeting a minor because investigators thought the lawmakers were using their associates' or children's devices to hide contacts with journalists.

While the Justice Department routinely conducts investigations of leaked information, including classified intelligence, opening such an investigation into members of Congress is extraordinarily rare. It did not name any other member of the House beside Schiff.

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Trump called the probes a "witch hunt", regularly criticised Schiff and other Democrats on Twitter and repeatedly dismissed as "fake news" leaks he found personally harmful to his agenda. The judge, in that case, appointed someone to advocate someone against the Justice Department.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said in a statement that "these actions appear to be yet another egregious assault on our democracy" waged by the former president.

"The news about the politicization of the Trump Administration Justice Department is harrowing".

Schiff, while not confirming he was a target of the investigation, called for a probe by the Justice Department's inspector general into "this and other cases that suggest the weaponization of law enforcement by a corrupt president".

But the leak investigations were revived by attorney general Bill Barr a year later, the paper reported. The committee is aware, though, that metadata from the accounts was turned over, the official said.

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"I was notified.by Apple that they did seize my records".

"But just within the last hour, The New York Times has broken a whole new level of the story, and, again, this is not just sort of a shocking revelation about the Trump Justice Department. this is something, as far as we can tell, that has never been done before in USA government - and it has profound implications for the separation of powers between the branches of government", she explained.

A spokesman for committee Republicans did not respond to questions about whether GOP members of the panel were similarly targeted or notified.

"From my first days as part of the Russian Federation investigation, I expected that eventually, someone would attempt this - I just wasn't sure if it would be a hostile government or my own", Quigley said.

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