Schiff’s Call For Investigation  Into Trump’s Justice Department Seizure Of Members Of Intelligence Committee Data

Schiff’s Call For Investigation Into Trump’s Justice Department Seizure Of Members Of Intelligence Committee Data

By Aaron Miller-

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif,  is demanding an investigation 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 of two House Democrats whose records were reportedly seized by Trump’s Justice Department, called on the agency’s internal watchdog to investigate.House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is demanding answers from the Department of Justice on the heels of a bombshell report that the Trump administration had secretly subpoenaed Apple for his data.

The US justice department under Donald Trump seized data from the accounts of at least two members of the House of Representatives intelligence committee in 2018 as part of an aggressive crackdown on leaks related to the Russia investigation and other national security matters,  a committee official and two people familiar with the investigation has said.

Prosecutors in the DOJ, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, were searching for the sources of damaging news reports about contacts between Trump associates and Russia, the report said.

Prosecutors from the previous president’s DoJ 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.
The records of at least 12 people connected to the intelligence panel were eventually shared, including the chairman, Adam Schiff, who was then the top Democrat on the committee.

The California Democratic congressman Eric Swalwell was the second member, according to spokeswoman Natalie Edelstein. The records of aides, former aides and family members were also seized, including one who was a minor, a the committee official revealed.

Apple informed the committee last month that their records had been shared. The committee is aware 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 DoJ, and did not immediately notify the members of Congress or the committee about the disclosure.
While the justice department routinely conducts investigations of leaked information, including classified intelligence, opening such an investigation into members of Congress is extraordinarily rare.

Schiff tweeted: “Trump repeatedly demanded the DoJ go after his political enemies. It’s clear his demands didn’t fall on deaf ears. This baseless investigation, while now closed, is yet another example of Trump’s corrupt weaponization of justice. And how much he imperiled our democracy.”

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 the special counsel Robert Mueller – into his campaign’s ties to Russia.

Trump notoriously 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.

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

Harrowing

“The news about the politicization of the Trump administration justice department is harrowing,” she said.
Schiff, now the panel’s chair, also confirmed in a statement on Thursday evening that the DoJ 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.

Questions such as whether the investigation unfairly targeted Democrats are yet to be established, but the committee official said. The broad probe of the source of the leaks by Trump’s prosecutors was extended into the House Intelligence Committee, whose members have access to sensitive documents.

The  revelation that 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 has caused a serious stir that is rocking boats,, and could rock a lot more boats yet.

Prosecutors from Trump’s Justice Department subpoenaed Apple for the data, according to reliable sources  granted anonymity to discuss the secret seizures first reported by The New York Times.
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 seized, including one who was a minor, according to the committee official.

Shared Records

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.

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. Manhattan DA brought Trump Organization controller to testify before  special grand jury: Sources - ABC News

Under Fire: Donald Trump                                                              Image: Abcnews.go.com

The sources said some cases had nothing to do with leaks about Mr. Trump and involved sensitive national security information, one of the people said. But Mr. Barr’s overall view of leaks led some people in the department to eventually see the inquiries as politically motivated.

Mr. Schiff called the subpoenas for data on committee members and staff another example of Mr. Trump using the Justice Department as a “cudgel against his political opponents and members of the media.”

Egregious Assault

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 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.”Pelosi does not rule out possibility of subpoenaing testimony if Senate  skips witnesses - ABC News

House Speaker :   Nancy Pelosi                                                                                                             Image:Abcnews. go.com

Outrageous

Florida congresswoman Val Demings, an impeachment manager in Trump’s first Senate trial, and who is now challenging Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio for his seat, tweeted: “It is outrageous but not surprising. We have a former president with no regard for the rule of law or for those who enforce the laws. We need to conduct a thorough investigation and hold everybody responsible accountable.”

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.  The Justice Department announced last week that it would cease the practice of going after journalists’ sourcing information, following a cry about press freedom.

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