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Schiff calls for watchdog probe after report that Trump DOJ subpoenaed Apple for House Dems’ data

U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks to members of the media exterior a closed session earlier than the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees on the U.S. Capitol on October 28, 2019 in Washington, DC. Also pictured are (L-R) 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 demanding solutions from the Department of Justice on the heels of a bombshell report that the Trump administration had secretly subpoenaed Apple for his data.

Schiff, one in all two House Democrats whose information had been reportedly seized by Trump’s Justice Department, referred to as on the company’s inner watchdog to analyze.

Former President Donald Trump “tried to use the Department as a cudgel against his political opponents and members of the media,” Schiff mentioned in an announcement shortly after the report got here out Thursday night time. “It is increasingly apparent that those demands did not fall on deaf ears.”

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The New York Times reported that Trump’s Justice Department in 2017 and early 2018 seized information from no less than a dozen folks linked to the House intelligence panel, together with Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. The company reportedly additionally obtained data from the accounts of aides and relations, one in all whom was a baby.

Prosecutors within the DOJ, below the helm of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, had been looking out for the sources of damaging news reviews about contacts between Trump associates and Russia, the report mentioned.

As Trump’s prosecutors probed the supply of the leaks, they seemed into the House Intelligence Committee, whose members have entry to delicate paperwork.

The probe didn’t hyperlink the House committee to the leaks — however Sessions’ substitute, Attorney General William Barr, saved the investigation going, the Times reported.

U.S. President Donald Trump, left, speaks to William Barr, U.S. legal professional common, throughout the thirty eighth annual National Peace Officers Memorial Day service on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., May 15, 2019.

Kevin Dietsch | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Apple was saved silent by a gag order that expired this 12 months, in accordance with the newspaper.

The Times’ report got here weeks after reviews that the Trump administration had secretly obtained information from journalists at a number of news retailers.

“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,” Schiff’s assertion mentioned.

“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.”

Swalwell in an announcement Thursday night time mentioned he had additionally been advised final month by Apple that his information had been turned over to the Trump administration “as part of a politically motivated investigation into his perceived enemies.”

Swalwell mentioned he backed Schiff’s name for the DOJ inspector common to analyze.

“Like many of the world’s most despicable dictators, former President Trump showed an utter disdain for our democracy and the rule of law,” Swalwell’s assertion mentioned.

“This kind of conduct is unacceptable, but unfortunately on brand for a president who has repeatedly shown he would cast aside our Constitution for his own personal gain.”

In an announcement, Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., joined the calls for a full investigation, and mentioned he plans to introduce laws to extend transparency and reform the “abuse of gag orders.”

“The current Justice Department needs to act with much greater urgency both to reveal abuses and ensure full accountability for those responsible,” Wyden mentioned.

Read the complete report from The New York Times.

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