Politics Adam Schiff calls for investigation after report of his phone records being seized by Trump DOJ
Trump DOJ seized phone records of New York Times reporters
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the Justice Department under former President Trump quietly seized phone records from four of its reporters in 2017. The Department of Justice, now under President Biden, told the newspaper that officials seized records from Jan. 14 to April 30, 2017 from reporters Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau and Michael S. Schmidt. The DOJ also got a court order to seize logs of their emails, but "noThe Department of Justice, now under President Biden, told the newspaper that officials seized records from Jan. 14 to April 30, 2017 from reporters Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau and Michael S. Schmidt.
Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, called for an inspector general investigation of the Trump Justice Department on Thursday after a report said that his phone records, along with those of aides and another member of the committee, had been seized — what he condemned as a “terrible abuse of power.”
“It also makes the Department of Justice just a fully owned subsidiary of the president’s personal legal interests and political interests,” the California Democrat told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
DOJ to end practice of seeking court orders for reporter records in leak investigations
The Justice Department, following direction from President Joe Biden, will no longer seek court orders to obtain records from journalists just "doing their jobs" following revelations about Trump administration leak investigations and Obama-era controversies. © Provided by Washington Examiner “DOJ has now completed a review to determine all instances in which the department had pending compulsory requests from reporters in leak investigations.
that as the Department of Justice hunted for leakers behind the distribution of classified information early in the Trump administration, prosecutors — in an extraordinary move — subpoenaed Apple for communications data of at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, as well as that of aides and a family member. One was a child.
In the end, the data didn’t tie the committee to the leaks, and there were discussions about dropping the investigation. But a year later, William Barr, after becoming attorney general, revitalized the investigation, moving around department employees to work on the Schiff case.
When Maddow asked Schiff on Thursday whether Congress should also investigate the department’s seizing of the records, Schiff said it should, adding that Attorney General Merrick Garland would be questioned on the matter. He said he himself shouldn’t have a role in the investigation, given that his records were subpoenaed, but said other committees in Congress could exercise oversight.
Trump DOJ seized House Democrats' data from Apple
Trump administration officials subpoenaed Apple for data on accounts belonging to at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, congressional aides and their family members to find who was behind the leaks of classified information, The New York Times reported on Thursday © Getty Images Trump DOJ seized House Democrats' data from Apple Committee officials and sources with knowledge of the inquiry told the Times that records belonging to at least a dozen people, including House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), were seized in 2017 and 2018.
As for Garland’s role, Schiff said that the current attorney general had a responsibility to “clean house,” and that it would be at least a decade before the department recovered from politicization.
“I think that the attorney general has an obligation to clean house, to essentially understand exactly what the department was doing over the last four years — make sure there’s accountability for those that were engaged in political and partisan investigations within the department,” Schiff said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi backed Schiff’s call for an investigation, calling the Times report “harrowing.”
“These actions appear to be yet another egregious assault on our democracy waged by the former president,” Pelosi said in a statement. “I support Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s call for an investigation into this situation and other acts of the weaponization of law enforcement by the former president. Transparency is essential.”
Schiff Says Trump Justice Department Improperly Probed His Panel
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Thursday night that the Trump Justice Department had secretly subpoenaed personal records of people tied to his panel. Lauren French, a spokeswoman for the panel, said material tied to Schiff himself “was included in the subpoenas” for metadata.
The seizing of metadata, if corroborated, would show how eager Trump administration officials were to identify and prosecute the sources. The Justice Department,, was reported to have issued a gag order against Apple. Lawmakers didn’t learn they were being investigated until last month, when the gag order expired and Apple notified them of the seizure, according to the Times report.
Schiff said that, while unprecedented, the department’s move was a “patent abuse” and “another example of the president politicizing” the department.
“We’re obviously deeply suspicious of what the Justice Department was doing,” he said. “More than that, this looks like a patent abuse of the department. Yet another example of the president politicizing, using the Department of Justice as a cudgel to go after his enemies. He would repeatedly attack our committee, attack me personally, call for investigations of our committee while we were doing an investigation of him.”
He added: “And apparently those pleas were met with a receptive audience at the very top level of the Justice Department.”
Schiff also said Thursday that it was still unclear how many members were targeted by the subpoenas, and whether only Democrats’ records were seized. He said they would learn more in coming days as members of the committee rechecked old emails for the notice from Apple — an email that members and staff thought was spam, Schiff said.
Outrage grows as Justice seeks to contain subpoena fallout .
Attorney General Merrick Garland is scrambling to contain the fallout of a widening Justice Department scandal as Democratic allies and the press express outrage over revelations that his agency secretly obtained records of lawmakers, reporters and dozens of others as it carried out aggressive leak investigations during the Trump presidency.Just three months on the job, Garland said Monday he has referred the matter to the agency's inspectorJust three months on the job, Garland said Monday he has referred the matter to the agency's inspector general to conduct a "thorough and independent" investigation.