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World

Trump officials seized Apple data of 2 Democratic lawmakers: NY Times

  • Top Democrat Nancy Pelosi also called for an investigation, describing the New York Times report as "harrowing."
11 Jun 2021

WASHINGTON: Prosecutors in the US Justice Department under former president Donald Trump seized data from Apple from two Democratic lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee, as well as that of their staff and family members, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Subpoenas for the communications metadata targeted congressman Adam Schiff of California, a Trump foe who was then the panel's top Democrat and now its chairman, the paper said.

Congressman Eric Swalwell told CNN on Thursday he was the second Democratic lawmaker on the committee who was targeted.

"I was notified... by Apple that they did seize my records. It's wrong," he said.

According to the Times, prosecutors working under attorney general Jeff Sessions made unusual efforts in 2017 and early 2018 to find the source of leaks of classified information regarding contacts between Trump associates and Russia.

The Justice Department officials targeted electronic data not only of the lawmakers, but that of their staff and families, including one minor, possibly because investigators thought the lawmakers were using their associates' or children's devices to hide contacts with journalists.

Ultimately, none of the data or other evidence tied the lawmakers or the House Intelligence Committee to the leaks, the Times said.

Schiff, while not confirming he was a target of the investigation, called for a probe by the Justice Department's inspector general into "this and other cases that suggest the weaponization of law enforcement by a corrupt president."

Trump "tried to use the Department as a cudgel against his political opponents and members of the media. It is increasingly apparent that those demands did not fall on deaf ears," Schiff said in a statement.

Top Democrat Nancy Pelosi also called for an investigation, describing the New York Times report as "harrowing."

"These actions appear to be yet another egregious assault on our democracy waged by the former president," she said in a statement.