U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks outside of a closed session to the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees of the House of Representatives in Washington, DC on October 28, 2019. Capitol in front of media representatives. Also pictured are (LR) Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA).
Mark Wilson | Getty Images
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Is calling for responses from the Justice Department following a bombing report that the Trump administration secretly summoned Apple over its data.
Schiff, one of two House Democrats whose files were reportedly confiscated by Trump’s Justice Department, called on the agency’s internal watchdog to investigate.
Former President Donald Trump “tried to use the ministry as a club against his political opponents and media representatives,” Schiff said in a statement shortly after the report was published on Thursday evening. “It is becoming increasingly clear that these demands have not fallen on deaf ears.”
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The New York Times reported that in 2017 and early 2018, Trump’s Department of Justice seized records of at least a dozen people affiliated with the House Intelligence Committee, including Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. The agency also reportedly obtained data from the accounts of carers and family members, one of whom was a child.
Prosecutors for the DOJ, then headed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, were looking for sources of harmful news of contacts between Trump employees and Russia, the report said.
When Trump’s prosecutors investigated the source of the leaks, they investigated the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, whose members have access to sensitive documents.
The investigation did not link the House committee to the leaks – but Sessions’ successor, Attorney General William Barr, kept the investigation going, the Times reported.
U.S. President Donald Trump (left) speaks with William Barr, U.S. Attorney General, during the 38th annual National Peace Officers Memorial Day service at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, May 15, 2019.
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According to the newspaper, Apple was silenced by a gag order that expired earlier this year.
The Times article came weeks after reports that the Trump administration had secretly received records from journalists from several news outlets.
“The politicization of the ministry and the attacks on the rule of law are among the most dangerous attacks by the former president on our democracy,” said Schiff in a statement.
“Although we were informed by the ministry in May that this investigation was closed, I believe that further responses are needed. For this reason, I believe that the Inspector General should investigate this and other cases relating to the arming of the law enforcement by a corrupt Suggest presidents. “
Swalwell said in a statement Thursday evening that Apple had told him last month that his files had been turned over to the Trump administration “as part of a politically motivated investigation into his supposed enemies.”
Swalwell said he supported Schiff’s request to the DOJ inspector general to conduct an investigation.
“Like many of the most despicable dictators in the world, former President Trump showed an utter disdain for our democracy and the rule of law,” Swalwell said in a statement.
“This kind of behavior is unacceptable, but unfortunately on the mark for a president who has repeatedly shown that he would put our constitution aside for his own benefit.”
In a statement, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore. Endorsed calls for a full investigation, saying he plans to enact laws to increase transparency and reform “abuse of gag orders” .
“The current Justice Department needs to act with much greater urgency to both detect abuses and ensure full accountability of those responsible,” said Wyden.
Read the full New York Times report.