US DOJ secretly seized Apple data from US Representative Schiff and US House Intel Committee aides and family members following subpoena amid Donald Trump’s obsession over leaks
Justice Department prosecutors seized metadata records from Apple for accounts belonging to Rep. Adam Schiff and other members of the House Intelligence Committee with secret subpoenas, it has been reported.
Prosecutors investigating the leaks of classified information from early in the Trump administration subpoenaed Apple and seized the data of at least a dozen people tied to the committee in 2017 and early 2018, officials told The New York Times.
The seized data ultimately did not tie members of the House Intelligence Committee to leaks to the press regarding contacts between associates of Donald Trump and Russia, the outlet reported.
The Justice Department even secured a gag order against Apple preventing them from telling the lawmakers they were being investigated, sources told the outlet. The gag order finally expired this year and Apple told the committee members that they were investigated last month.
The investigators, who worked under then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, discussed if the Justice Department should close its investigation into the leaks of the classified information to the press.
Justice Department prosecutors seized metadata records from Apple for accounts belonging to Rep. Adam Schiff, pictured, and other members of the House Intelligence Committee
Schiff released a statement on Thursday addressing the revelations
Sessions, 74, was ultimately forced out as Attorney General and replaced by William Barr – who revived attempts to investigate Schiff and his alleged connection to information leaks, The New York Times reported.
Barr even moved a New Jersey prosecutor to the main Justice Department offices to work on the case related to Schiff and about six others, sources told the outlet.
Prosecutors also subpoenaed records from news reporters at The Washington Post, The New York Times and CNN in an attempt to identify their confidential sources, which also remained secret until the Justice Department recently disclosed them.
The revelations show the extent of Trump’s obsession over leaks and the extraordinary lengths his administration would go through to investigate them.
The Justice Department routinely investigates leaks of classified information – though officials noted to The New York Times that they could not recall any time when a lawmaker’s records had been seized.
‘President Trump repeatedly and fragrantly demanded that the Department of Justice carry out his political will, and tried to use the Department as a cudgel against his political opponents and members of the media,’ Schiff said in a statement released on Thursday.
‘It is increasingly apparent that those demands did not fall on deaf ears. The politicization of the Department and the attacks on the rule of law are among the most dangerous assaults on our democracy carried out by the former President.’
He added: ‘Though we were informed by the Department in May that this investigation is closed, I believe more answers are needed, which is why I believe the Inspector General should investigate this and other cases that suggest the weaponization of law enforcement by a corrupt president.’