Schiff calls for investigation of Trump DOJ seizing data from House Democrats
U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep.Adam Schiff (D-CA) addresses members of the media outside a closed session before the Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and House Surveillance at the United States Capitol October 28, 2019 in Washington, DC. Also represented (LR) are Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA).
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House Intelligence President Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Calls for answers from the Justice Department on the heels of a explosive report that the Trump administration had secretly subpoenaed Apple for its data.
Schiff, one of two House Democrats whose files were reportedly seized by Trump’s Justice Department, called on the agency’s internal watchdog to investigate.
Former president Donald trump “tried to use the Department as a stick against political opponents and members of the media,” Schiff said in a statement shortly after the report was released Thursday night. “It is increasingly clear that these requests have not fallen on deaf ears.”
The New York Times reported that Trump’s Justice Department in 2017 and early 2018 seized the files of at least a dozen people linked to the House intelligence panel, including Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. The agency also reportedly obtained data from the accounts of helpers and family members, one of whom was a child.
DOJ prosecutors, under the direction of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, were looking for sources of damaging reporting on contacts between Trump’s associates and Russia, according to the report.
As Trump’s prosecutors probed the source of the leaks, they leaned into the House Intelligence Committee, whose members have access to sensitive documents.
The investigation did not link the House committee to the leaks – but Sessions’ replacement, Attorney General William Barr, continued the investigation, the Times reported.
U.S. President Donald Trump, left, chats with U.S. Attorney General William Barr during the 38th annual Peace Officers Memorial Day ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC on 15 May 2019.
Kevin Dietsch | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Apple has been kept silent by a gag order that expired this year, according to the newspaper.
The Times report came weeks after the Trump administration had documents obtained secretly journalists from several media.
“The politicization of the department and attacks on the rule of law are among the most dangerous attacks on our democracy carried out by the former president,” Schiff’s statement said.
“Although we were informed by the ministry in May that this investigation was closed, I think more answers are needed, which is why I think the Inspector General should investigate this case and others that suggest the militarization of law enforcement by a corrupt president. “
Swalwell, in a statement Thursday evening, said Apple also told him last month that his files were turned over to the Trump administration “as part of a politically motivated investigation into his suspected enemies.”
Swalwell said he supported Schiff’s call for the DOJ Inspector General to investigate.
“Like many of the world’s most despicable dictators, former President Trump showed complete disregard for our democracy and the rule of law,” Swalwell’s statement said.
“This kind of conduct is unacceptable, but sadly on the mark for a President who has repeatedly shown that he will reject our Constitution for his own personal gain.”
In a statement, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Joined calls for a full investigation and said he plans to introduce legislation to increase transparency and reform ” abuse of gag orders “.
“The current Justice Department must act with much more urgency both to expose the abuses and to ensure full accountability of those responsible,” Wyden said.