•   
  •   
  •   

Politics Trump DOJ seized data from House Democrats in leaks probe

07:40  11 june  2021
07:40  11 june  2021 Source:   msn.com

DOJ to probe Trump-era subpoenas of lawmaker records

  DOJ to probe Trump-era subpoenas of lawmaker records The Justice Department's internal watchdog will investigate the secret seizure of data from Democratic lawmakers and reporters during leak investigations initiated under the Trump administration.The probe follows news of a department decision in 2017 and 2018 to issue subpoenas seeking metadata from House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and fellow committee member Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) during leak investigations. In recent weeks the Department of Justice (DOJ) also notified reporters at three different outlets their records were sought in similar investigations and dropped the gag orders limiting disclosure of the seizure.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department under former President Donald Trump seized data from the accounts of at least two members of the House Intelligence Committee in 2018 as part of an aggressive crackdown on leaks related to the Russia investigation and other national security matters, according to a committee official and two people familiar with the investigation.

FILE - In this Tuesday, March 3, 2020, file photo, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., talks to reporters as lawmakers work to extend government surveillance powers that are expiring soon, on Capitol Hill in Washington. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats called for an investigation on Thursday, June 10, 2021, after The New York Times reported that the Justice Department under President Donald Trump seized the communications data of members of the House Intelligence Committee, including those of Schiff. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Tuesday, March 3, 2020, file photo, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., talks to reporters as lawmakers work to extend government surveillance powers that are expiring soon, on Capitol Hill in Washington. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats called for an investigation on Thursday, June 10, 2021, after The New York Times reported that the Justice Department under President Donald Trump seized the communications data of members of the House Intelligence Committee, including those of Schiff. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Prosecutors from Trump’s Justice Department subpoenaed Apple for the data, according to the people, who were granted anonymity to discuss the secret seizures first reported by The New York Times.

It’s complicated: Moving on from Trump at DOJ not easy for 'straight-shooting' AG Garland

  It’s complicated: Moving on from Trump at DOJ not easy for 'straight-shooting' AG Garland 'Any decision the Department of Justice makes should be based on an unbiased, non-partisan interpretation of the law'The former federal judge has rolled back Trump policies that had shielded local police departments from federal scrutiny in the face of social justice protests, launching wide-ranging civil rights investigations into law enforcement operations in Minneapolis and Louisville.

The records of at least twelve people connected to the intelligence panel were eventually shared, including Chairman Adam Schiff, who was then the top Democrat on the committee. California Rep. Eric Swalwell was the second member, according to spokeswoman Natalie Edelstein. The records of aides, former aides and family members were also siezed, including one who was a minor, according to the committee official.

Apple informed the committee last month that their records had been shared, but did not give extensive detail. The committee is aware, though, that metadata from the accounts was turned over, the official said. The records do not contain any other content from the devices, like photos, messages or emails, one of the other people said. The third person said that Apple complied with the subpoena, providing the information to the Justice Department, and did not immediately notify the members of Congress or the committee about the disclosure.

Justice Department seizes Apple data from Rep. Adam Schiff

  Justice Department seizes Apple data from Rep. Adam Schiff Justice Department prosecutors seized metadata records from Apple for accounts belonging to Rep. Adam Schiff and other members of the House Intelligence Committee.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.

While the Justice Department routinely conducts investigations of leaked information, including classified intelligence, opening such an investigation into members of Congress is extraordinarily rare.

The Trump administration’s attempt to secretly gain access to data of individual members of Congress and others connected to the panel came as the president was fuming publicly and privately over investigations — in Congress and by then-special counsel Robert Mueller — into his campaign’s ties to Russia. Trump called the probes a “witch hunt," regularly criticized Schiff and other Democrats on Twitter and repeatedly dismissed as “fake news” leaks he found personally harmful to his agenda. As the investigations swirled around him, he demanded loyalty from a Justice Department he often regarded as his personal law firm.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana): Congress Pelosi © Provided by Associated Press Congress Pelosi

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

The One Big Question About Trump’s DoJ Spying on Dems

  The One Big Question About Trump’s DoJ Spying on Dems With the news that Donald Trump’s Justice Department targeted communications and other records of Democratic members of Congress, as well as their aides and even family members, forcing Apple to hand over metadata on no less than two Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee and gagging the tech giant from disclosing that, Rep. Adam Schiff called for an investigation into what he called a “terrible abuse of power.” The investigationThe investigation really needs to answer only one question: Were Republicans targeted as well? That’s it. It’s the only question that really matters.

“The news about the politicization of the Trump Administration Justice Department is harrowing," she said.

Schiff, now the panel’s chair, confirmed in a statement Thursday evening that the Justice Department had informed the committee in May that the investigation was closed. Still, he said, "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.”

The Justice Department told the intelligence panel then that the matter had not transferred to any other entity or investigative body, the committee official said, and the department confirmed that to the committee again on Thursday.

The panel has continued to seek additional information, but the Justice Department has not been forthcoming in a timely manner, including on questions such as whether the investigation was properly predicated and whether it only targeted Democrats, the committee official said.

It is unclear why Trump's Justice Department would have targeted a minor as part of the probe. Swalwell, confirming that he was told his records were siezed, told CNN Thursday evening that he was aware a minor was involved and “I believe they were targeted punitively and not for any reason in law.”

Matt Gaetz stands with Democrats outraged over Trump-era subpoenas in DOJ leak inquiry

  Matt Gaetz stands with Democrats outraged over Trump-era subpoenas in DOJ leak inquiry Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz took the side of Democrats on Friday, criticizing the Trump-era Justice Department over seizures of communications records of at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee who raised concerns about the "politicization" of the agency.The staunch Trump ally emerged as one of the few Republicans to speak out after the New York Times reported on Thursday the Justice Department subpoenaed Apple in 2017 and 2018 for the data belonging to California Rep. Adam Schiff, then-ranking member of the committee, as well as panel staff and family members amid a hunt for the sources of leaks about Trump associates and their ties to Russia.

Another Democrat on the intelligence panel, Illinois Rep. Mike Quigley, said he did not find it even “remotely surprising” that Trump went after committee members' records during the Russia probe.

“From my first days as part of the Russia 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.

There's no indication that the Justice Department used the records to prosecute anyone. After some of the information was declassified and made public during the later years of the Trump administration, there was concern among some of the prosecutors that even if they could bring a leak case, trying it would be difficult and a conviction would be unlikely, one of the people said. Federal agents questioned at least one former committee staff member in 2020, the person said, and ultimately, prosecutors weren’t able to substantiate a case.

The news follows revelations that the Justice Department had secretly seized phone records belonging to reporters at The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN as part of criminal leak investigations. Following an outcry from press freedom organizations, the Justice Department announced last week that it would cease the practice of going after journalists’ sourcing information.

__

Associated Press writer Eric Tucker contributed to this report.

The slow leak of Trump's corruption is a problem for Biden's DOJ .
Under Bill Barr, the DOJ targeted House Democrats and their families Donald Trump, Merrick Garland and Joe Biden Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images

usr: 1
This is interesting!