Former President Donald Trump
's Justice Department
allegedly seized records on a dozen people
connected to two House
Intelligence Committee Democrats
in an attempt to determine who leaked classified information about Trump's relationship with Russia to reporters.
According to a New York Times
report published Thursday, prosecutors at the Department of Justice
subpoenaed data from the accounts of Democrats, their aides, and family members, one of whom was a minor, in 2017 and 2018.
One of the lawmakers named in the report is Rep. Adam Schiff
(Calif.), who was the House committee's top Democrat at the time of the subpoenas and is now its chairman; the other Democrat was not named but was also a member of the committee, according to the Times, which cited committee officials and two others briefed on the investigation.
The committee has regular access to sensitive government information as the House's main intelligence oversight body
NEW: As part of its hunt for those who leaked Russia investigation
information to reporters, the DOJ has subpoenaed Apple
for data belonging to Adam Schiff, another House Intel Committee Democrat, aides, and family members, one of whom was a minor.w. @npfandos @nytmike @adamgoldmanNYThttps://t.co/6jWHq34kUB
— Katie Benner (@ktbenner) June 11, 2021
According to the New York Times, prosecutors under then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions were looking for the sources of news
reports about communications between Trump associates and Russia. The DOJ reportedly subpoenaed communications metadata of lawmakers, their aides, and their families, an unprecedented move in leak investigations.
According to the New York Times, the department also obtained a gag order against Apple, which expired this year, prompting the company to notify those whose data was affected last month that their records had been shared.
The records ultimately failed to connect the committee to the leaks
, and investigators reportedly discussed potentially closing the investigation until William Bar took over as attorney general a year later.
According to three anonymous people with knowledge of his work
, Barr assigned a trusted prosecutor in New Jersey
with little relevant experience to work on the Schiff-related case, along with about a half-dozen others.
The Times report comes after weeks of revelations about the Trump Justice Department's efforts to seize the phone records of reporters from at least three major news organizations, including the Times, CNN
, and The Washington Post
, which included imposing gag orders on the executives of the outlets.
The news, which sparked accusations that the government was interfering with press freedoms, was intended to identify reporters' confidential sources.
President Joe Biden
has promised the press that such acts will not occur during his administration.
In response to the Times report, Schiff stated that Trump had “repeatedly and flagrantly demanded that the Department of Justice carry out his political will,” and that he had attempted to use the department as a “cudgel against his political opponents and members of the media
“It is becoming increasingly clear that those demands were not unheard,” Schiff said in a statement, adding that “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.”
The Justice Department informed Schiff last month that the investigation into his committee was closed, but he asked the department's independent inspector general to look into the case and others that "suggest the weaponization of law enforcement by a corrupt president."
Stardia was not immediately responded to by a spokesperson for the current Justice Department.